Today's Reading: Luke 1:57-66
Devo Author: Beth Davies
Date: December 16, 2022
When pregnant with our second baby, we were excited when the doctor shared during the ultrasound that we were having a baby girl. At the time, both my husband and I were teaching at the same school and since we had a little boy already, we had many students eagerly anticipating her arrival. The community support among parents, students, and friends was huge; we felt so loved. We took great care in choosing our baby girl’s name and kept it between us until we would reveal her name after the birth. You can imagine our surprise when our son was born! We had to make some decisions about his name stat–because, well, names are important! And when we did share this surprising news, there was rejoicing, there was confusion, and there were questions... especially from the 100+ students who threw us a pink baby shower.
Luke chapter 1
tells us that Zechariah and Elizabeth were up in years when they finally became pregnant. Having struggled with infertility, Elizabeth’s pregnancy was quite a surprise. As their child was nearing his entrance into the world, there was a lot of involvement among neighbors and friends, too. We read about their support, their concerns, and even fears. When it came time to name the child, tradition called for him to be named after his father. That is just what you did in that day and time. It was what was expected, but it is not what happened.
In a surprise to everyone, Elizabeth and Zechariah named the child “John.” The name choice was perplexing. A surprise birth now had a surprise name. But the Lord had sent word to name him John, and Zechariah and Elizabeth were 100% in. They chose obedience over tradition. They chose to follow the Lord over cultural expectations. This caused quite a stir, piquing curiosity throughout Judea. (And likewise, their child, John the Baptist, would be known to stir things up his entire life!)
It is encouraging to remember that we have a God of surprises, who is also in the details. And there is certainly a chance He might ask you to go against the “expected” someday. Do you, like Elizabeth and Zechariah, have the courage to trust the Lord if the “unexpected” goes against the grain of tradition or expectation? As you celebrate the birth of Jesus this season, consider integrating a Christ-centered moment that could take the place or at least “tweak” a cultural tradition.
What if, on the day you hang Christmas lights, you read about the Light of the World before dinner? Or if everyone in your home writes on a slip of paper one way God blessed them this year, dates it, puts it inside a “blessings” gift box to be opened and celebrated in years to follow? What if your Christmas giving includes the church, a non-profit, or those in need, in addition to giving presents to family members? What if, the week before Christmas, you choose to fast from sweets one day reflecting on the true source of fulfillment and peace? Well, that is just crazy! Or is it? There are many creative ways to bring a focus to Jesus, rejoice in Him and more fully experience the wonder and joy of His birth. In doing so, you in turn, like Elizabeth and Zechariah, might just pique the curiosity of a watching world as well.