What do you want for your life? The story of the birth of John the Baptist reminds us that God has plans for His people. He names us and knows us.
John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah, is indisputably changed by the birth of his son—not so much because of who his son would be, but because of Who his son would precede. Zechariah’s son would make straight the path of the Messiah. Zechariah knows God has this purpose for his son, which means God has a purpose for him too. He must parent with the understanding that God has a claim on his beloved child.
Zechariah has had a lot of time to think about this. Upon hearing the news that he would have a son, and wondering aloud to the angel how such a thing could be possible for a man his age, the angel of the Lord struck him mute.
When the boy is born and Zechariah’s family hears Elizabeth say their baby’s name would be John, those gathered appeal to Zechariah to choose another name. No one in their family bore this name, and a boy was supposed to be named after those to whom he belongs. When Zechariah obeys God’s instruction (Luke 1:13) and writes with his own hand, “His name is John,” this is more than surrender. It is worship. Zechariah was signing his son over to the Lord.
When Zechariah wrote those words, the Lord loosed his tongue and he blessed God. When the people there heard Zechariah’s prayer, they sensed the weight of the infant John’s divine purpose, and they wondered, “What then will this child become?”
Zechariah gives us a model for how to celebrate Christmas well. He regards it as the event that declares that everything dear to him belongs to God. For Christians, Christmas makes the same declaration to us. Everything we have and everything we are belongs to God.
What then will our lives become? What do you want for your life?
There is no better time of year to seriously ask these questions than now, in stillness before God. In his silence, Zechariah had time to think about how we really do need grace to cover us. Incorporate into your life some stillness so that you might contemplate God. Make stillness a part of your worship of Jesus, and consider His claim on your life and the lives of those you love.
Ask God to give you the eyes of faith to see where you have not offered up all that you love to His redemptive purposes. Take the name that He gives you: beloved child. And above all, may your celebration of Christmas be marked by your worship of Jesus.
Written By Russ Ramsey