Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
There was no Internet service in the hill country of Judea in those days, but news certainly got around. Neighbors and relatives shared in Elizabeth’s joy when her child was born. And when Zechariah wrote, “His name is John,” everyone marveled that he could speak again.
With the first words he spoke as a new father, Zechariah praised God. Soon everyone was talking about the “great mercy” shown in the surprise birth of this baby, the naming of this child, and the return of Zechariah’s speech. “What then is this child going to be?” they wondered.
Luke cites a reason for this wondering joy: “For the Lord’s hand was with [the child].” God was with John as he grew up before their eyes. We know little about John’s early years, but we sense here that John’s birth and youth fill the neighbors with anticipation. They understand that God is at work doing great things.
We know about anticipation in this season. Christmas comes in a few days. What are you expecting?
Are family and friends coming over to celebrate with you? Will you share presents? Will you worship together? Will there be peace on earth?
We may “have it all,” or we may only get to rejoice as these neighbors did because of God’s great mercy. But even that will be more than enough, right?
“Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.” Amen.
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