December 23

“Joyful Proclamation”

Luke 1:57-66

Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari′ah after his father, but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

Elizabeth finally delivered her baby boy! God is good! It is such a blessing to be genuinely happy for someone and the blessings they have received. These days, finding genuine friends can be difficult to come by, but Elizabeth had neighbors and kinsfolk who rejoiced with her for the great mercy the Lord had shown her. We too should rejoice in the blessings that our friends are given, instead of gossiping about them, or being jealous because they got something you did not. That is what a true friend would do.

On the eighth day, Elizabeth and Zechariah brought up their son to be circumcised according to the Law, but drew controversy when Elizabeth tried to name her son. According to tradition, they should have named him after his father or some other relative. Zechariah was not able to talk, and he must have communicated with her on what their son’s name was to be. So, when Elizabeth spoke up and told them his name is John, they wanted confirmation from his father. As soon as he wrote ‘John’ and showed it to the people, immediately his punishment was lifted. If you remember back, Zechariah because mute because he didn’t believe what Gabriel told him was possible, even though he had studied and knew what God could do. God does not want to punish us for our unbelief – He does not want to punish us at all. What He wants is our complete love and devotion to Him. If Zechariah wasn’t muted and told the people or other priests about his doubts, he could have spread doubt about God. The mouth can be used for spreading the Good News (Luke 21:15) or it can be used for evil and doubt (Romans 3:14). You can ask the Holy Spirit to increase your self-control, so that when you are presented a time when you could speak against God, you are able to hold your tongue so that you don’t cause another to doubt.
As soon as his mouth was opened, Zechariah could not stop blessing God. That is how we should be, especially during Advent. Our Lord is coming in two days! How can you not talk about how wonderful our God is?

Pray:
My Lord and Savior, Thank you for all of the blessings you have given to me, and thank you for all of the blessings you have given to my friends and family. Help me to see the blessings you give to others, and rejoice in their happiness rather than being envious or jealous. We all have the opportunity to share in your heavenly treasures, and I would not want to take the joy away from anyone. Help me to speak your Good News at all times, through my actions and my words. I ask this through your holy Name. Amen.

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