One of my favorite women from the the Christmas story is Elizabeth. Luke tells us Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah were “both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years” (1:6). But an angel visited Zechariah and told him he and Elizabeth would have a son.
But this son would be a little different. He would do great things for God, but he must not drink wine or strong drink. He would instead be filled with the Holy Spirit, even in Elizabeth’s womb. When their son was born, Elizabeth and Zechariah broke with the tradition of naming him after his father and instead named him John. The entire situation was so strange, Luke tells us, “all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, ‘What then will this child be?’” (1:65-66).
We know that baby grew up to be John the Baptist, but he never outgrew his reputation of being a little different.
Matthew 3:4 tells us, “Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.” He preached a different message than the Jews had heard before, one of repentance and baptism. He even had the honor of baptizing Jesus. But he was outspoken and bold, which eventually led to his death–he was imprisoned for speaking out against Herod taking his brother’s wife and was then beheaded at her request.
Maybe, like John, when your child was born, your neighbors whispered to each other about how different he was. Maybe your daughter dresses in her own unique way, and doesn’t care what her peers think. Maybe your son seems to have no filter and speaks the truth, even when it gets him (or you!) in trouble.
When the neighbors peered at the baby John and asked “What then will this child be?” they had no idea the path he would travel. But, Luke 1:66 tells us, “the hand of the Lord was with him.” The hand of the Lord is with your child, too.
Our kids are different. We can either see that as a hindrance to them, or we can look at this story of John the Baptist as our example. Jesus Himself said of John, “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John” (Luke 7:28).
God used John’s differences to make a difference in the world.
Thank God today for your child’s differences. Ask Him to remind you of the ways those differences have made a difference in your life or the lives of others.