Christmas is one of the two main Christian festivals. The incidents that led up to the birth of Jesus and his very early life are only to be found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.
It is in Luke’s gospel that we learn about the birth of another special baby. A baby who was to grow up and become John the Baptist – the man who got people ready for Jesus’ mission to the world.
While Jesus was born to the young mother Mary, John’s mother, Elizabeth, was an older lady.
Indeed prior to learning about John’s birth, she was someone who felt that she was going to miss out on the joys of motherhood.
Like Abraham’s wife Sarah, though she was delighted when she learned that she was going to become a mother later in life!
The births of both babies were announced by the archangel Gabriel.
While Gabriel announced Jesus’ birth to his mother Mary, in John’s case, Gabriel spoke to his father Zechariah while he was performing his duties in the Temple.
Zechariah was so taken aback both by the arrival of Gabriel and also by his news, that to begin with he did not believe what he was being told. As a result of his disbelief, he lost his power of speech for a time.
It only returned when he showed that he believed Gabriel’s message by writing down that his new son was to be called John, just as Gabriel had informed him that his name would be.
John had an important part to play in Jesus’ mission as it was he who later baptised him.
For Jesus’ work to continue to grow today, lots of people are need to play their part in telling others the good news of Jesus’ birth and resurrection.