We are not often gifted a full week for this 4th week of Advent. Because of that, we don't often hear the story of John's birth to Elizabeth and Zechariah. We hear about his conception quite often, but not his bodily arrival in the world. Zechariah is mute until he writes his assent to Elizabeth's choice of name for the child, and then he cannot stop praising God: which terrifies those neighbors who have come to see this miracle child born to a couple in their old age. And we hear all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, "What then will this child become?" For, indeed, the hand of God was with him.
What, indeed, became of that child? Those expectations placed on his tiny shoulders, those glances and whispers from neighbors as he grew....no wonder he ended up in the wilderness, unfashionably dressed, proclaiming the coming of the kingdom founded by his cousin. John was specially touched by God and he lived into that call, at a cost.
We are all specially touched by God in unique and individual ways. We do not all honor those gifts, all the time. Many times these gifts, talents even, cause us to stand out in ways that make us uncomfortable. Or perhaps we utilize these gifts for our own purposes as opposed to, for the greater good. John's birth story reminds us of the responsibility to live into our gifts given us, whatever they may be, and joyfully utilize them for the building of the kingdom, the opening of which we celebrate on the 25th.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Eros, 2006.