Journey to the Manger: John the Baptist

Me and the kids after our Get Ready relay race!

Me and the kids after our Get Ready relay race!

We dipped our toes in the water today meeting John the Baptist on our Journey to the Manger.

John is the miracle baby of Zechariah and Elizabeth, a child of prophecy and promise. The Holy Spirit was upon him before he was born, shaping him to become the one who would prepare the world for the Messiah. His calling was evident in his first encounter with Jesus, when he started dancing in Elizabeth’s womb as Mary, pregnant with the Son of God, greeted her cousin.

John the Baptist

John the Baptist

Jesus would later call his cousin John the greatest man ever born. John became a powerful preacher, crying out for the people to repent and turn back to God. When he went out into the wilderness, the crowds followed him. Under conviction, many confessed their sins and were baptized. John said, “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord.” (John 1:23) He wanted everyone to be ready for the coming of Christ!

As Jesus began His ministry and encountered John once again, John proclaimed, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I told you about.” (John 1:29-30) John pointed people to Jesus.

Today, we competed in a “Get Ready” relay race. One-by-one, we tried to get dressed with a pile of mismatched clothes as fast as we could, then awkwardly run around the living room three times, take them off and finally high-five the next person for them to begin. We could barely make it around the room we were laughing so hard! This game was hard (hilarious) work!

Jackson and Lauren laughed so hard when they saw how silly they looked during our relay!

Jackson and Lauren laughed so hard when they saw how silly they looked during our relay!

This Christmas, we ought to listen to John the Baptist. We need to set aside our agendas and attitudes, and turn our lives over to Christ. God longs to wash our hearts clean, renew our purpose and surround us with peace. As we celebrate the season, we then can anticipate Jesus’s presence and proclaim His coming!

Let’s get ready for Jesus!

Journey to the Manger: Elizabeth

We played a game called Christmas Joy that emphasized what is most important to celebrate this time of year.

We played a game called Christmas Joy that emphasized what is most important to celebrate this time of year.

On our Journey to the Manger today, we met Elizabeth.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth

After waiting so many years, God poured out His richest blessings upon Elizabeth, when He miraculously allowed her to conceive a son in her old age. Though her husband had suddenly lost his voice, she could hardly keep quiet with the praise overflowing her heart!

Elizabeth’s joy was a source of encouragement to her younger cousin, Mary. When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and revealed God’s miraculous plan, the angel encouraged her with news of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Nothing is impossible for God!

Mary’s belief in the Angel’s message spurred an impromptu visit to her cousin Elizabeth. And, when Elizabeth heard her young relative’s voice, the Holy Spirit spoke through her:

Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.

– Luke 1:42b-45

Elizabeth’s joy was contagious! Her praises rang through the house, as she thanked her Lord God for the amazing grace extended to her and to her cousin. Elizabeth’s greeting gave Mary the opportunity to sing of God’s greatness and power, to rejoice in her Father and express her trust in His plan.

Today we played a game called Christmas Joy (printable can be found here). As those who have been transformed by Jesus, our joy should be evident, just as Elizabeth’s was! This Christmas, let’s spread the joy that our God has come to give us new life.

 

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.