Fourth Sunday of Advent: December 22 

Luke 1:57-80

            Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

             On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.”

             They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed.

             Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

             Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:

             “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

            “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

             The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.

 

from Don Snyder, First Christian Church, Beckley

 

            The miraculous birth of a son to Elizabeth began with a mysterious visitation to her husband in his Temple ministry.  Elizabeth accepts the destiny of her son through his name.  Zechariah corroborates his wife’s desire, acknowledges God’s handiwork, and his physical infirmity is restored through the giving of the name John.  While praising God for the part his son will play in God’s plan, Zechariah’s hymn focuses on God’s impending salvation through His Messiah.  John’s presence in the desert foreshadows the place where God will appear to him and commission him for ministry. 

            The question for God’s people in His revelation isn’t what we believe has happened, but rather if we are willing to believe that in a miraculous birth the stage is set for humanity to take the first steps in restoration to God through repentance and recognition that “the Kingdom of God is at hand?”

Bring us to faith, O God, and to true repentance,

toward a new life in the light of your kingdom.

__________________________________

We are grateful for your support of Disciples Mission Fund,

the Annual Fund of the Christian Church in West Virginia,

and the Christmas Offering for Regional Ministry,

all of which makes this project possible.

Visit http://www.wvdisciples.org

for other publications and information about our ministries.

© 2013  Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia.

All rights reserved.  These devotions may be copied  or linked for non-profit distribution with attribution to the authors and the copyright notice above.

Advertisements