And the child grew and became strong in spirit (Luke 1:80a).
It's fun to look through our family photo albums. Christmas after Christmas each of us grows taller. Before too long girlfriends start showing up, and then wives, and children of our own. Now the father of a teenager myself, it's fun to sit down and watch videos of past Christmases and see my son growing into a young man-strong in body, mind and spirit.
Luke concludes the account of John's birth with an interesting footnote and a reminder: John "grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel." Since Zechariah and Elizabeth were both advanced in years before John was conceived, it is quite possible neither of them lived long enough to see him grow to adulthood. When John was grown he lived in the wilderness, awaiting the moment the Spirit of God would stir him to begin his work, preparing the people of Israel for their Savior.
John wasn't born to remain a little baby and neither was Jesus. As Christmas Day draws near we take a moment to look back into the photo album of our human family. When we do we see our Brother Jesus on the day of His birth. But Jesus didn't stay that little Baby in the manger; He grew to be a remarkable man whose story will unfold more clearly and completely in the accounts of His adult life. This we will see in the upcoming Lenten devotions, especially His death and resurrection that set us free.
In the meantime, as our Christmas devotions continue, we rejoin Mary and remember the birth of her special Baby Jesus.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Open my mind to watch Jesus grow from that tiny Baby to be my powerful Savior and Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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