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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.
 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.
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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