Elizabeth and Zechariah lived near the Temple. Zechariah served God as a priest, and Elizabeth looked after their home. They were happy to be close to God. But they were sad that they had never had any children. Now they were growing old, and Elizabeth was past the age for having children.
But God spoke to Zechariah when he was working in the temple. He told Zechariah that he and Elizabeth would have a son.
Zechariah did not believe God. So God gave Zechariah a sign. He made Zechariah’s voice stop working. He said that when the baby was born, Zechariah must call the baby John, and John would be a prophet of God, sent to make the people ready for the Lord.
Zechariah had to write everything down, because he couldn’t talk.
Soon, Elizabeth gave Zechariah some good news. Even though she was old, she was having a baby!
While they were waiting for the baby, Elizabeth’s cousin Mary came to visit. When Elizabeth saw Mary far off in the distance, she felt John give a great jump in her womb. She called out to Mary: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child in your womb. Who am I that the mother of my Lord should visit me? For my child leapt with joy when I saw you, and I knew that you are carrying the Lord.”
Mary stayed with Elizabeth until the child was born.
When it was time to name the baby, Zechariah wrote: “His name is John.” At that moment, his voice returned, and he gave praise to God.
John grew up to be a great prophet. The people came from far away to hear him speak. He called the people to repent and prepare for the coming of the Lord.