And he (Zechariah) asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." ... (Luke 1:63a).
Read Luke 1:57-63.
When I was a child presents didn't show up under our tree until Christmas morning. When my wife was a child they were there Christmas Eve after church. We knew when our first child came along that one of us would be starting a new tradition.
Something new was about to happen in Zechariah's family. The time finally came and Elizabeth gave birth to a son. Eight days later it was time to circumcise and name him. Zechariah's neighbors and family wanted to name him after his father, but Elizabeth refused. Clinging to the words of the angel to Zechariah, she said his name was to be John.
This puzzled the friends and relatives. It was traditional to name sons after their father or another family member. But Elizabeth stood firm. Her child's name would transcend family relations. He was not just a gift to his family, but to the whole world.
When the neighbors turned to Zechariah, they began asking him what name he wanted to give the child. Zechariah immediately got his writing tablet and confidently wrote, "His name is John."
What a difference from nine months ago. Then he was filled with doubt, skepticism and hopelessness. The time John was growing in Elizabeth's womb, and those three months with Mary and her special Child were more than enough to renew Zechariah's flagging faith. Now with great confidence and boldness, Zechariah gives his son the name the angel had said.
Jesus makes that transformation in our lives too. By the salvation won by His life, death and resurrection, He drives away our doubts, fears and cynicism, and fills us with courage, joy and faith.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for bearing with our doubts and fears. For Jesus' sake, fill us with confidence, hope and faith that we may trust You and serve one another. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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