When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. (Luke 1:57-66)
I smile as I read the Gospels leading us to Christmas. They are filled with joy, wonderment and unbridled faith. And well they should. They are inspired words of God. And, as with any inspiration, they send a strong personal message to each of us. A message that is amazing.
The birth of John the Baptist to Elizabeth and Zechariah was a true miracle from God. In the case of Zechariah, its prelude was somber. He doubted the message of the Angel when it was announced to him that Elizabeth would become pregnant. It reminds us that in our moments of weakness when we doubt where the Lord is, we need to listen more carefully and to respond. Those are the moments when we must persevere the most in our faith, those are the moments when we must pray for each other.
For faith is a gift, it cannot be earned, it cannot be bought, it is a gift from God. We should thank God for the gift of faith that he has given to us, and never cease to ask God for growth in our faith, in our trust, and in our understanding of who He is. He will always answer.
Think of this. You were named by God. You were named at the time of your baptism. At baptism, you were signed with the name of the Holy Trinity, and so God’s name is upon you. God has therefore claimed you for His own and desires to bless you as His child. For if God has given you His name, then He has made you a member of His holy family.
You have a choice every day of whether or not to accept that holy and awesome name. Every time that you believe and obey God, you are accepting His naming and claiming of you. Baptized into the Body of Christ, we are members of a prophetic community called to work for peace and justice, announcing the good news in word and deed.
In a few days, we will celebrate the wonderous miracle of God giving us His Son. The day is a day of prayer, joy and love. As incredible and glorious as The Feast of Christmas is that God would become incarnate for us and he would take on our flesh and come into this world as one of us, so that he would be able to save us from our sins. Nothing is more incredible except . . .that this is the mystery that we celebrate, in essence, every single day.
Every day He is with us if we but listen for His presence and acknowledge His role and constant presence in our lives. Every day we are invited to show God’s glory, justice, and peace in unique ways and in particular times.
He remains with us always.
Now that’s Amazing !!
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, I thank You for choosing me before the foundation of the world and claiming me as Your own. I thank You for giving me Your name and making me a part of Your family. Help me to honor Your name by believing You when You speak and obeying when You command. Amen. “
Baptized into the Body of Christ, we are members of a prophetic community called to work for peace and justice, announcing the good news in word and deed. May we reflect on our own lives as did Isaiah, John, and so many others that have gone before us. And may we look at the newborn Christians in our communities of faith and ask the question shared by those inspired by John’s birth: “What, then, will this child be?” And help that child grow into the prophet God intended her or him to be.