Choosing a name for a person, or a business, or a society is never an easy task and there are many factors to be considered. One of which is that it must sound nice and also meaningful. Today in Luke 1:57-66, we read about the naming ceremony of Elizabeth’s son. He was given the name “John”, a Jewish name (Yehohanan) which means “God-is-gracious”.
57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him. Luke 1:57-66 (New International Version – NIV)
Indeed, this name had a great significance for Elizabeth and Zechariah. We remember Elizabeth was barren and her barrenness was seen as a curse from God. So the conception and birth of John was indeed a gracious blessing from God.
But you know, God’s grace did not just give Zechariah and Elizabeth a son. God’s grace will be continued in the life and mission of John. John’s mission was to prepare the people for the time of intense grace from God. A time of restoration to the dignity as God’s people and a time of reconciliation between God and each other.
Beloved, as a new year draws near, let us prepare ourselves to receive this moment of intense grace from God, so that we can be grace-filled and be a graceful people.
Peace and Joy
Written by Rev. Fr. Courage Dogbey
Prayer (God is Gracious)
Dear Lord, Your grace is sufficient and Your grace is all we need. Help us to prepare ourselves to receive Your grace so that we can be grace-filled and be graceful in Jesus name. Amen
Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!!!