Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.”
And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Elizabeth was directed by our Lord that, instead of following cultural tradition and naming her son Zechariah, after his father, she instead insists that her son be called John, to which his father agrees. In those days, first-born males were named after their fathers, since most of the time they followed in their father’s career footsteps, as in the case of the priest Zechariah. So Elizabeth’s going against the grain surprises everyone. This seems to indicate that, even before he was born, John’s parents remembered the Lord’ message and recognized that their son, Jesus’ cousin, would indeed be leading quite a different life than that of his father.
Especially during the season of Advent, as we prepare for the coming of our Savior, are we taking the time to slow down and listen to what God is saying to us? Feed your spiritual growth and pay attention to the message God is sending you.
—John and Katie Nicolau are active members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Glenview IL, where they have lived for over 23 years. They have been married for 32 years and have 4 children, three of whom graduated from Loyola Academy, Wilmette, IL, John’s alma mater. John also serves on the board of Charis, a Jesuit ministry for young adults.
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, O Lord our God!