And Mary remained with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned to her home. Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her and they rejoiced with her.
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, 'No; he is to be called John'. They said to her, 'None of your relatives has this name.' Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, 'His name is John'. And all of them were amazed.
(Church in Wales lectionary, from New Revised Standard version)
We're looking at the last of the 'O Antiphons' today - that is the verses sung before the psalm for the day - that has a title for Jesus the Messiah. Today's title is ' O Emmanuel', which means 'God is with us'. Isaiah Chapter 7.14 says: 'Look the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel'.
Do you find it difficult to believe in God, or have you been occasionally filled with doubt? If so, you are among good company, for many Christians, have had their doubts. 'Faith' means moving forward even without being certain sometimes. Zechariah doubts his wife will have a child, and is struck dumb as a result. Only when he agrees the child will be called John does he get his voice back.
Perhaps next time doubt occurs you could push it aside and step forward into the future in faith, at least for the next day, and ask God to help you with your faith.
O root of Jesse,
O key of David,
O King of all the nations,
creator of the world
and ruler of Your people,
we remember that You
came to live among us
as a baby,
in order to offer us eternal life.
You might like to look up this site and a piece by Esther Bley from Ohio, to find out something to create, and to remind you of the O Antiphons: