The Birth of John the Baptist
Today's reading describes the birth of John the Baptist, just a few weeks before Jesus was born. On the eighth day after his birth, they presented the newborn baby in the Temple -- probably with some extra fanfare, given that he was the son of an aging priest. After his circumcision, the child's name was announced: John. This surprised people, because they expected the boy would be named for his father. However, Elizabeth insisted (probably to the consternation of some there who expected women to keep silent in such public ceremonies) that his name would be John, which his father agreed was true (in writing because he was still unable to speak). Then Zechariah's mouth was opened, and he offered a prophecy for his son and for the Jewish people, announcing the imminent arrival of a savior, a messiah, a Christ.
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