The Birth of John

When the time came, our neighbor Elizabeth gave birth to a son. We were all excited for her and her husband Zechariah. The whole street gathered, along with her relatives, to celebrate and give thanks to God, for He had shown them great mercy in providing a healthy baby boy.

After the traditional eight days had passed, the baby was presented for circumcision, according to the Law. Those who had gathered as witnesses wanted to name the child Zechariah, after his father, but Elizabeth objected, “No! He will be called John.”

This took them by surprise. “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” So they used gestures to ask Zechariah what he wanted to name the child.

He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote:

His name will be John.

At that instant, Zechariah was able to speak again, and he began praising God. This time it was us who were surprised. We were all in awe of what we had witnessed and word quickly spread throughout the entire hill country of Judea.

Everyone, including myself, wondered what this meant for the child. Who would he become? It was obvious that the Hand of God was on him.
Not long after all these things happened, Zechariah began to prophesy, for the Spirit of God had come upon him. This is what he spoke:

May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed! For God’s intervention has begun, and He has moved to rescue us, the people of God. The Lord has raised up a powerful sign of liberation for us from among the descendants of God’s servant, King David. As was prophesied through the mouths of His holy prophets in ancient times:

God will liberate us from our enemies and from the hand of our oppressors! God will show mercy promised to our ancestors, upholding the abiding covenant He made with them, remembering the original vow He swore to Abraham, from whom we are all descended.

God will rescue us from the grasp of our enemies so that we may serve Him without fear all our days in holiness and justice, in the presence of the Lord. And you, my son, will be called the prophet of the Most High. For you will be the one to prepare the way for the Lord so that the Lord’s people will receive knowledge of their freedom through the forgiveness of their sins.

All this will flow from the kind and compassionate mercy of our God. A new day is dawning: the Sunrise from the heavens will break through in our darkness, and those who huddle in night, those who sit in the shadow of death, will be able to rise and walk in the light, guided in the pathway of peace.

As the years went by, we watched John as he grew up. He became spiritually strong and lived much of his life in the wilderness, away from the influence of the towns and villages. This he did until the day came for him to step into the public eye of Israel.


Take a moment to reflect on the story you have just read.
(sometimes it is helpful to read it again, slowly)

*Was there something in this story that you discovered—or thought about—for the first time?
*As you think about the story, what questions do you have? What do you wonder about?
*How might this story change your perspective / beliefs / behaviors?

I would love to hear what you are discovering as you think through these questions.
Comments are moderated to ensure they are relevant to the story and questions above.


~ Christmas Story Collection ~

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