Now is the time to prepare for the Coming of the Messiah this Advent Season. Meet us here each day of Advent where we will be posting a blog written by members of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, representing an intergenerational sampling of contributors as they reflect on the scripture selections from the Daily Lectionary Advent readings from the Book of Common Worship. If you would like to download a copy of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem Advent Devotional, CLICK HERE.
LECTIONARY READING: 2 Samuel 7:18–29; Galatians 3:1–14; Luke 1:57–66
The scene at the Temple when John the Baptist was circumcised must have been exciting. It was time to name Zechariah and Elizabeth’s baby. Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, had come three months earlier to help her cousin Elizabeth during her pregnancy. Mary may have attended this wonderful family ceremony which was a celebration of the Jewish covenant with God.
Many months before, Zechariah received a message from the angel Gabriel that he and Elizabeth would become parents of a son. Because he and Elizabeth were both very old, he doubted the angel’s message. Because of his doubting, Zechariah was rendered unable to speak until the day of his son’s circumcision when he affirmed through writing that his child’s name would be John, as the angel told him. Immediately, speech returned and he began to praise God.
The community was in awe over these events and wondered what John would become. John’s parents knew he was destined to proclaim the Messiah’s arrival, and John would speak “in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn disobedient hearts” back to God, to prepare them for the Lord (Luke 1:17).
John the Baptist was born to a woman too old to have children, and he heralded the birth of a Savior to a young girl unprepared to have children. God worked things out according to his plan. This Advent season, pause to reflect, pray, and recognize God’s work in your life.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for your perfect will to be done. Go with us, abide with us, and draw us ever closer to you. Amen.