Tuesday, December 7
Elizabeth comes from solid stock, a descendant of Aaron and, along with her husband, righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.
We pick up her story as she moves from her acceptable role in the culture as “little woman” to a stalwart female who shocks the crowd when custom dictates the proper way to do things. When the safest place to be is in the boat. Don’t miss the intensity of these words: …they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” This isn’t a simple “I don’t think this is a good idea. Let’s discuss the issue.” Elizabeth’s “NO!” silences the crowd. Her words are better translated as “Not so!” “By no means!” “Oh, no you don’t!”
Normally the father would lead in this ceremony but since Zechariah cannot yet speak, he is on the sidelines. Why was naming the child so important, so emotional, such a bone of contention? Had the child been ‘Little Zach,’ he would have been expected to grow up as a priest just like his father, but God had another, a grander, plan. This child would be the announcer, the prophesied herald of the Messiah.
What were you expected to “be”? What were and are your own expectations? How do you react when the plans you’ve anticipated for yourself are dashed or delayed? Physical weakness, illness, limited resources can prevent mountain climbing or mission trips, but praying and writing encouraging notes is a calling worthy of pursuit. Yale, Wellesley, or Wheaton may be outside your budget as you follow God’s Kingdom call, but learning in small steps is a beginning. Use these Advent days to examine how God may be whispering–or as in Elizabeth’s case–shouting “NO! I have something better, more life changing, more fulfilling for you.” John would become a witness, a way-paver. Imagine what plans God might have for you. Dream big no matter the present circumstances.