I have a friend whose grandfather said of him, "this child will be special with God's help." The friend is a pastor, and if you ever heard him preach, you would say the prophecy was of God.
God calls many at a young age.
Jeremiah, a prophet though a kid, and God had this conversation: "Before I shaped you in the womb," God told him, "I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations — that's what I had in mind for you."
Jeremiah, disturbed by this information instead of being elated, said, "Hold it, Master God! Look at me.
I don't know anything. I'm only a boy!" God told me, "Don't say, 'I'm only a boy.' I'll tell you where to go and you'll go there. I'll tell you what to say and you'll say it. Don't be afraid of a soul. I'll be right there, looking after you."
Before Jeremiah was born, God had plans for him.
In Luke's gospel, the same is said of John, who would be called the Baptist. "A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighborhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone who heard about it took it to heart, wondering, "What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his hand in this."
What will become of this child?
Think back to those times in your life, back when you were young, to those persons you were sure would (as they used to say) make something of themselves. As we've grown older, we've begun to understand that as the world sees success, someone can "make something of them self." But spiritually, God has to have his hand in the mixer for someone to be put together properly.
John's father, Zechariah was sure the boy would make a difference, but only, as God wanted him to be, he were named John. Obedience is more important than sacrifice, Zechariah -- a practicing priest of the temple -- knew.
I would suggest that John's role in all this, "to go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways," is no different than our own. I would suggest that Jeremiah's role in all this, to prophecy that the Messiah was coming, is no different than our own role of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I would suggest that we are no different than Moses, or Abram, or Joseph (early or late) or any of those who were called by God for a specific (and no so specific) task.
Today, let your yes be yes. Choose obedience. Make a difference. Let Christmas' bells ring throughout the land.
Zechariah said of the moment that John was to be circumcised but whose words would do nicely this morning to anyone reading this ,"Present the offer of salvation to his people, the forgiveness of their sins. Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God's Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace."
Go and make disciples, friends. Feel the heartfelt mercies. Let God's Sunrise break into your life. And especially let the shine of His light make a moment of peace for you.