What’s In A Name?

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. http://www.GregOlsen.com
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. http://www.GregOlsen.com

Gospel – December 23, 2019 – Luke 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”

Imagine being called to the home of your family or friend to celebrate the naming of a child – born to a woman advanced in years and long thought barren. You know the tradition of your religion. So, you expect the child to be named for his father.

But this miracle child with his miracle mom – who never doubted as did her husband – decides to throw everyone a curve.

She chooses not to name him for his father – a man everyone knows will have just this one son. Nor will she name him for anyone in their family as tradition required.

Instead she names him John. Why? Do you know what John means in Hebrew? “God is gracious.” Unlike her husband Elizabeth understands this is all God’s doing.

And when Zechariah acknowledges the same his voice is back.

Lord, let us never doubt your power and your graciousness to us your creation. Give us voice to sing of your works.

“Make straight the path of the Lord.”

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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