The Fourth Wednesday of Advent

In today’s Gospel we read of the birth of John the Baptist.  Isn’t it odd that when Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives gathered on the eighth day for the baby’s circumcision that they had already chosen a name for him?  My wife and I have four kids and we didn’t let our neighbors and relatives pick a single name.  I doubt if you did either.

Even when Elizabeth told them that the baby’s name would be John, they still argued with her.  “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So, they asked Zechariah what he thought.  Remember that he was struck dumb when he questioned the angel’s words that Elizabeth was going to be a mother in her old age.  So he took a tablet and wrote “John is his name,” and “all were amazed.”

This elderly woman has had a baby, her husband has had his voice taken away,  and the relatives and neighbors are amazed that they’ve chosen to name the baby John?  That seems to me to be the most normal thing that’s happened around there for a while.

But don’t we all know someone like that?  They overlook the main thing to focus on the small stuff.  You know, the ones who rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

But then, the most amazing thing of all.  Zechariah gets his voice back.  Now the neighbors are afraid. The events are discussed “throughout the hill country of Judea.  All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, ‘What, then, will this child be?'”

Well, we know the answer to the question.  John will go before the Lord to prepare His way.  Everyone of us is a little bit John.  Our calling is to prepare the Lord’s way, too.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  As we wind up the Advent season, hopefully  we can look back and  see that we’re just a little bit more ready than we were four weeks ago.  If so, then our Advent has been a success.

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