The Birth of John
It is customary that when a child is born, the mother and father pray and give thanks to God for the gift of a new, happy, and healthy life. This is no exception for Zachary and Elizabeth, as they were well beyond their child bearing years, and yet they had been blessed with a baby. Not only were they now blessed with this gift of new life, they were also greeted with the notion that this young baby boy—John—would be someone with an important vocation, “For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.” This was reaffirmed as Zachary had been struck “dumb”, but when he finally was able to speak, he spoke of the blessing that God had given to them. God had truly been so good to them, and it was all such a welcomed and joyous gift. They could not have known that the greatest gift of all was soon to be given. The gift of the Father’s Son, Jesus Christ, would soon be upon them and the whole world. He would soon come to begin His mission of salvation.
Sometimes the words of “gratitude” and “thankfulness” are not easily found in our own vocabulary. We often hear people refer to the act of “giving thanks to”, but never do we hear giving thanks because. We forget that at times we fail to be thankful for what God has granted us. When we see others that need more than we—we should not grumble but rather give thanks. When we are interrupted because someone calls, or comes to see us—we should not become irritated, but rather to welcome it as a visit or call from Christ. The Gospels tach us to have gratitude, to come to understand that all we have is a gift from God, and that we should always remain truly grateful for these gifts.
As we usher in the mystery and gift of the birth of Christ, let us try and have the grateful hearts of Elizabeth and Zachary who trusted that God would fulfill His promises to them. May we, like them, remember that God owes us nothing, but He does give us everything!
Rejoice in the coming of the Savior!