“Her name shall be, Kelly?”

Christmas Memories – Advent Devotion

December 22, 2020

“Her name shall be, Kelly?”

Luke 1:5-22; 57-66

This Christmas Memories devotion takes us back to December of 1987. My wife had filed paperwork with a lawyer in Boca Raton, FL., to adopt a child. The whole process began in August of that year. The lawyer, I don’t recall her name, had handled the Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman adoption. She worked on finding someone who wanted to give up their newborn for adoption.

In December, we got a call from the lawyer that she had found a young girl (age 17) who planned to give up her child for adoption after birth in April. We were matched up with her and even exchanged several anonymous letters with her.

So, it began, as Kathy and I prepared as much as we could for the birth of our adopted child. The process went smoothly, but there was one crucial thing to consider. What would we name the child?

I had long hoped to have a child and name him or her Kelly. I liked the name, and for me, it is a reference for one of my favorite television characters from the 60’s show, I Spy. The lead character’s name was Kelly Robinson.

Besides, the name Kelly works for either a girl or a boy, right? Now, you need to understand how my wife, Kathy, reacts to things if she doesn’t like something. “Hey, Kath, let’s call the baby Kelly!”

My answer was dead silence. Finally, after a few agonizing moments, Kathy said, “Kelly’s a boy’s name, and if we have a girl, I don’t want her named Kelly.” I tried to talk her down, to no avail.

In late April of 1988, our daughter Heather was born 😊.

Hey, you win some, and you lose some.

As I reflect on the decision to name my daughter Heather rather than Kelly, it reminds me of Zechariah and Elisabeth, John the Baptist’s parents.

Zechariah was a temple priest. One day when he was on duty in the Temple, an angel appeared to him. The angel told Zechariah that God would answer the prayers of him and his wife, Elisabeth. She would become pregnant, and when the child was born, they would give the baby the name John.

Now Zechariah was taken aback, to say the least. He questioned the angel about how this could be as he and his wife were old, and she was well beyond childbearing age.

I guess the angel wasn’t pleased with the question because he took away Zechariah’s ability to speak until after the baby, John, was born.

Months later, the baby is born, and as was the custom, the parents take the baby to the Temple to be circumcised. When they got to the Temple, people were already calling the baby Zechariah. This was tradition back then that the male child was named after the father.

But when the circumcision was ready to begin, Elisabeth said:

The religious leaders questioned this break from tradition, and they turned the baby’s father. On a tablet, Zechariah wrote, “His name is John.”

Not only did God provide Zechariah and Elisabeth with a child, but He had chosen a name for him, John. God had a plan for John, and He was not about to let anyone get in the way of it.

John would pave the way for the coming Savior, Jesus.

What’s in a name? I listened to my wife, and our daughter’s name is Heather. Zechariah learned the hard way to listen and accept what God says.

His name was and is John.

Dear Lord, we understand the story of Zechariah and Elisabeth is significant. You had a plan for salvation, and they were a part of it. Your prophet John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus by telling people to repent and be baptized. Help us always to listen to the voice and whispers of your Holy Spirit as He leads and guides us throughout our lives. Amen

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