One couple from Illinois, unable to decide on a name for their baby, set up a Facebook poll. People from as far away as New Zealand and Iceland voted on the names Madelyn, McKenna, Emily, and Addilyne. On January 3, the couple named their baby girl Madelyn, which had won with more than 1,300 votes.
Today’s passage opens with the momentous occasion of a child’s birth: “It was time for Elizabeth to have her baby” (v. 57). What a time of incredible rejoicing for the friends and relatives of the happy couple! This woman was advanced in years, and the text hints that she was greatly loved in her community. And now she had at last given birth to a healthy child. Surely this was a sign of God’s “great mercy” (v. 58).
They gathered to circumcise the baby boy on the eighth day, and the extended family planned to name him “Zechariah” like his father. It would follow the tradition in which the oldest son was given the name of the father.
Zechariah, still mute, relied on Elizabeth to deliver the news of their alternative name. She told the gathering, “He is to be called John” (v. 60). The guests turned to Zechariah, who was now communicating by tablet. They asked him for confirmation of Elizabeth’s strange pronouncement. Zechariah, upholding his wife’s declaration and God’s wishes, wrote back the words: “His name is John” (v. 63).
Scripture tells us that immediately following this act of faithful obedience, Zechariah regained his speech and began praising God. Imagine the wonderful party that followed, with friends and relatives, his wife and new baby, able to express his thanks to God for this amazing gift!