“Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives … came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, ‘No; he shall be called John.’ And they said to her, ‘None of your relatives is called by this name.’ And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’” (Luke 1:57-58a, 59b-63a) You can just see the frustration level rising at John’s circumcision party. First the friends and relatives make assumptions about the baby’s name without even asking; then, when Elizabeth corrects them, they aren’t happy with the new name. They go over her head to ask Zechariah—apparently they don’t trust her! Only after Zechariah confirms the name do the visitors finally settle down.
I wonder if Elizabeth just wanted to grab her baby and run for the hills. Sometimes family is too much.
And yet, it was into our human family that God sent Jesus, His own Son. God knew that was going to mean plenty of conflict. He accepted that—not just in Jesus’ earthly home, but in His life with the whole human race as our Savior.
If you are living with family conflict, God understands your feelings. God has been there. He cares about you—yes, and about your family as well. Jesus lay down His life so that you could become a member of His family—a child of God, beloved, known, and wanted.
Prayer: Dear Father, give me Your peace when I face conflict. Amen.
* How does family conflict make you feel?
* How do you tend to cope with family conflict—yelling? Discussing? Running away?
* Tell about a time when God helped you during a time of conflict.
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on December 13, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved