The birth of St John the Baptist is described in detail in the Gospel according to Luke (Lk 1:5-25). One day Zechariah, father of St John the Baptist, was doing his work as a priest in the Temple and was burning incense on the altar. An angel of the Lord appeared to him and said that God had heard his prayer and his wife would bear him a son. Zechariah had to name him John. Zechariah didn’t believe the angel as he was and old man, and his wife was old too. As he hadn’t believed the angel, he became unable to speak and remained silent until the birth of John.
St John the Baptist, who would baptise the Saviour, had been aware of and rejoiced at the knowledge of the birth of Jesus, even before his birth. According to the Evangelist, when St Mary, Holy Mother of God, visited Elizabeth, mother of St John the Baptist, the latter, being filled with the Holy Spirit cried out, “Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord’s mother comes to visit me? For as soon as I heard your greeting, the baby within me jumped with gladness” (Lk 1:43-44).
Continuation of the words of Elizabeth are the message of this feast addressed to all Christians throughout the world, “How happy you are to believe that the Lord’s message to you will come true!” (Lk 1:45).