In celebrating the Nativity of John the Baptist, we celebrate multiple miracles.

We celebrate the miracle of birth. As I learned in a profound way when each of my three children came into the world, birth—giving life—is a miracle. The miracle of John’s birth was all the more noteworthy because he was born to aged, childless parents and his birth paralleled the miraculous birth of Christ.

We celebrate the miracle of God’s love and the power faith. Despite being rendered speechless for doubting the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement of John’s birth, Zechariah was saved by his faith and obedience to God. In return, Zechariah was given the gift of prophecy and foretold the future ministry of John. John’s faith made him a prophet who paved the way for Jesus, whom he later baptized.

We celebrate the miracle of building the Kingdom. The births of John and Jesus prompt us to ask, What, then, is my unique mission? Who am I becoming? The lives of John and Jesus prompt us to have faith that the hand of the Lord is with us. Let us pray on this special day that we may grow strong enough in spirit to serve as builders of God’s Kingdom on earth.

—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Midwest Jesuits and author of  Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.