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)┬áJohn 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!

Thankful: God makes His presence known

Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. So Moses thought: I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up?

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!”

“Here I am,” he answered.

– Exodus 3:2-3

Today I am thankful that God makes His presence known to me.

Moses was a man on the run, looking to escape his past and a death sentence. His flight led him to the land of Midian, where he attempted to start a new life, under the radar. Moses shook off all vestiges of his formal royal position, and spent his time in the wilderness watching over sheep.

As hard as he tried to sidestep his identity and cover up his sins, God saw it all. God had chosen Moses, and was working to reveal Himself and His redemptive plan, for Moses and for the Hebrew people.

So, while Moses was out shepherding, God set a bush on fire to get his attention. The flames radiated within the bush but did not consume it. Moses was drawn to this remarkable and miraculous sight and set out for a closer look. When he was within hearing distance, God spoke, calling out to Moses by name.

God meets us where we are. He reaches into our situations, and our escape plans, to make His presence known. He shows up at our jobs, in our homes and in our cars to help us change course and follow Him. God knows our hidden thoughts and fears and pain, and steps in to get our attention.

Just as God set a bush on fire, he also uses events and circumstances to draw our eyes toward Him. He wants to share words of hope and promise. God is doing what is necessary to draw our gaze and cause us to take another step toward Him. He is speaking our name, calling out for us to come.

Moses found himself on holy ground, conversing with the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.

God not only works to make His presence known, He intends for us to live IN His presence. God wants us to grasp hold of who we are in Him, and live out our calling in His strength.

We just have to start with “Here I am.”