25 Days of Christmas – First Words
What would your first words be if you finally got your voice back after nine months of not being able to talk? Honestly, I’m not sure I would be like Zechariah. He was struck speechless the entire duration of his wife’s pregnancy for failing to take the angel at his word. Now he regains his voice and the first words from his mouth are praises to God followed by prophesy regarding his newborn son John. He tells the people of Israel how blessed their God is. He has raised up a Savior. He has remembered His promise to Israel – The Messiah is coming!
Then Zechariah proclaims words of prophesy regarding his son. John will be a prophet. He will prepare the way for The Lord, calling people into repentance. This prophesy came from the Holy Spirit. Zechariah was also told that this child would be kept apart for God. In the eyes of the world he would be odd. He would never touch alcohol nor sleep with a woman. He would live in the wilderness and live on locusts and wild honey.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’d have a hard time with this message. To be told your child has a special role to fill but that he wouldn’t have a normal life. What if he feels weird growing up? What if he doesn’t have friends? What if he gets picked on? What if he never has children? What if his life is cut short?
I went through these questions myself about thirteen years when my kids were diagnosed with their genetic condition. For those who don’t know, all three of my children have a rare genetic condition. It took years to get a diagnosis but the end result was that this condition was degenerative. They were set apart. They needed an aide in school. And they used wheelchairs. They were seldom included in activities outside of forced ones in school and church. Even church was sometimes strained. The doctors said they probably would not live much past graduation, if they made it that far.
I went through all the “what it’s” and God and I had quite a few discussions over prayer. I struggled with the reality that He choose my kids for a special mission for Him. But they have been pointing people to Jesus since as far back as I can remember. Though not as loud and direct as John the Baptist, they have been messengers just the same. I guess that’s the point. God has called all of us to be his messengers to a world in need of a Savior. He calls us to be people “set apart” for His purpose. If you’ve been silent, it’s time to speak up. We won’t all be Johns but each of us can be a Zechariah if we allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us. The alternative is silence. And that choice isn’t really the right one, is it? I pray today that you find your voice and praise and proclaim The Lord God Almighty!