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Unsung Words of the Christmas Story – Part 7: No!

Microsoft Word - Document1Because the Christmas account is one that is so familiar to us, without realizing it, we tend to gloss over words because they seem to roll off our tongue. What would happen if paused for a moment to reflect on those well- worn and somewhat overlooked words and phrases?



“’No! He is to be called John’. They said to her, ‘There is no one among your relatives who has that name.’”  Luke 1:60-61


For some of us saying “no” is very difficult. This might be because we have this innate need to please everyone or we want others to think we can do it all. Sometimes God calls us to say “no” in order to break with the way things have always been done. We are to look “outside the box” of tradition and do it a new way.


The scene of the naming of John the Baptist is one of a number of acts of obedience in the Christmas story. Elizabeth said “no” (and the scriptures place an exclamation point after it to underscore the emphasis of the moment) and John received his name. Elizabeth broke with the way things had always been done in two way:


First of all, Elizabeth spoke up during the public naming of the child….a social disgrace in that day.   Secondly, the child was not named after his father, Zechariah. When Elizabeth exclaimed, “He shall be called John” she was breaking with centuries of tradition and, in turn, following the leading of the Holy Spirit.


Sometimes God calls us to break with the way we’ve always done it.



Lord, help me look at some of the well-worn patterns in my life. I want to be sensitive to any leading of Your Spirit to new, more life-giving ways of doing things. Give me strength to break with any traditions that do not point to You. Amen.


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The General’s Christmas Message 2016

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Unsung Words of the Christmas Story - Part 8: the time came