-Rev. Ashley Sherard-
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah. Your prayers have been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to your son and you must name him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many people will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the Lord’s eyes. He must not drink wine and liquor. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth. He will bring many Israelites back to the Lord their God. He will go forth before the Lord, equipped with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will turn the hearts of fathers[a] back to their children, and he will turn the disobedient to righteous patterns of thinking. He will make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Don’t be afraid, Zechariah.
“Do not be afraid,” is a pretty common phrase when it comes to messages from God. I can only imagine that there was some fear in Zechariah despite the Angel’s attempt at being comforting.
Fear is a common feeling with parents and parents to be, I believe. I remember being pregnant with my oldest and the absolute terror of not knowing what to do or how to do it. My parents, his parents, doctors, nurses, friends, were all offering their two cents on how to raise this little one; all of the suggestions contradicting the others. I wonder how I would’ve felt if an angel had appeared and given me some clue about who this child was and what they were expected to do if I would’ve been any less scared. I mean, maybe I would know that I need to buy books on certain subjects or make sure they have plenty of art supplies. Of course, as they grow and I learn and they learn I realize God is telling me who they are and what He expects of them. God shows me he is with them and me, just like Zechariah, Elizabeth, and John.
We should be always open to the messages God is sending us, it may not be an angel who clearly maps out your child’s future but, perhaps, it’s a child’s love for finger paint, or singing, or playing Dr. with her stuffed animals that we see God’s plan start to unfold. John’s parents knew his path only because Zechariah heard the angel, open your heart to hearing God in your child’s life as well.
Creator, please remind me that this precious child is a gift from you, given to me for a time to “train up in the way he should go”. Remind me of your plan for his/her life in bold and subtle ways and make me a vessel of your love to them. Amen.
Rev. Ashley Sherard is the Pastor of Beechwood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in French Lick, IN. She has been the Pastor at Beechwood for approximately two months and is loving every minute of getting to know this vibrant faith community.
Ashley is the mother of three amazing little girls who have been her greatest strength and driving force.