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Read Luke 1:57-63. TEXT: Now the time came for Elizabeth
to give birth, and she bore a son (Luke 1:57).

Advent    Finally Zechariah and Elizabeth's prayers are
answered, and John is born. Their neighbors and relatives are
especially joyful, coming together on the eighth day for their
son's naming and circumcision. As the ceremony begins, they
are about to name the child after his father. Unless Elizabeth
speaks up, it will prove difficult for Zechariah to intervene.

But immediately Elizabeth breaks with tradition. She
emphatically declines to name the child Zechariah, "No; he
shall be called John." The people are puzzled. Why would she
want to go against the tradition of naming the child after
someone in the family? No one among their relatives is named

They aren't ready to accept her answer. Instead, they turn to
Zechariah and make signs to ask what he wants to name the
child. I always find it amusing to recall that the aged priest
doesn't need them to make signs to him--he can hear just fine.
He simply can't speak.

If Zechariah had any fear of peer pressure, he didn't show it.
Still unable to talk because of his unbelief nine months before,
Zechariah asks for a writing tablet. And as everyone looks on
expectantly, Zechariah writes, "His name is John."

God chose a new name for Zechariah and Elizabeth's son
because He was doing a new thing, sending His own Son to
save the world. He likewise had wonderful plans for John. He
would be Jesus' forerunner, preparing the way for the new
covenant or testament that Jesus Christ would bring.


Heavenly Father, thank You for doing something new, for
sending Your Son to save us from our sins. Bless us this
Christmas season to receive Him who makes us new. In
Jesus' Name. Amen.
( Wayne Palmer Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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