Advent Day 3 – Luke 1:5-25

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

 

Welcome to our family Advent study! Advent is an arrival or coming, and it’s a time for us as Christians to prepare for the coming of Jesus on Christmas. Our reading plan during Advent will explore the Christmas story and is based on the family-friendly Advent study “Truth in the Tinsel” by Amanda White. We will be using the daily scriptures in our personal time at the feet of Jesus while we SOAP (Not sure what SOAP is? Go here for the tutorial.) and then sharing these scriptures with our families so we can all prepare together and learn what Christmas is really about. For ideas to keep the young ones engaged and daily ornament crafts, get your copy of “Truth in the Tinsel” here.

Below is a SOAP journal entry from our team to help dive into God’s Word. We encourage you to join in this study by sharing in the Comments section on our website. You can share what God’s teaching you or your family, prayer requests, family Christmas traditions, funny responses from your kids, etc.

The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.

Prepare the Way for the Lord | Becky Newman
Scripture

Luke 1:17

Observation

The Angel of the Lord told Zechariah that his son, John, as foretold in Old Testament prophecy, was going to prepare the way for Jesus to come and save. I like to think of it in agricultural terms. The ways of the world harden our hearts, like a field left fallow and trampled on by traffic. Verse 15 said that John received the gift of the Holy Spirit before he was born. We don’t get the gift of the Holy Spirit until we become believers; God set John apart before he was even born. Through the Holy Spirit, John’s mission in life was to plow the hard fields and prepare them for life–planting, growing, harvesting–making those hearts ready to accept the gift of salvation from Jesus. It’s interesting how “turning the hearts of the parents to their children” is also considered preparing for the Lord, especially as we are focusing on our children with this Bible study. The ways of this world can also turn us away from our children, especially as it pertains to preparing them to know Jesus and become believers.

Application

Advent is a time of preparation, to prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am also responsible for having a heart to prepare my kids’ hearts. Starting the Christmas season with heart-hardening Black Friday shopping was probably not the best way to prepare me or them for Jesus, but I’m thankful that we had so much awesome family time together over Thanksgiving that we can build on that as we plow the fields in our hearts.

Prayer

Through Your Holy Spirit, God, make this time in Your Word with my family a time of heart preparation, making the ground ready for the life that is coming. I pray that their hearts would never be too hard to listen for You and that they will always know Your love for them and believe in what Jesus has done for them.

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Posted on December 3, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Time and again my kids force me to learn something new. Where would I be without them? A helpless ole lady!! On day 1 before we started, I told them we were going to do an Advent study. “What’s Advent?” they asked. Uggghhh… Didn’t expect that. So had to look it up to give them proper definition (I didn’t know!) it means a time of waiting and preparing for the Lord. I was reminded of that in today’s reading. And really, I was convicted of not waiting on the Lord most of the time. I’m a “jump-in-and-do-it-now-or-never” kind of person, so “waiting” doesn’t come easy. Like yesterday I teetered on buying curriculum for next year (fall 2016) because it was 10-15% off and free shipping. Talked it over with hubs and he thought we should go for it. I hesitated… A lot, but ended up getting it hoping we’d figure out ways to cover a couple hundred dollars during the holidays. Then after getting the mail late last night, we got two completely unexpected checks that were almost EXACTLY (within dollars) the amount of what I spent. Wow!

    Anyways, back on task, hearing again the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, how long they WAITED for a child… Why wouldn’t they have given up long ago like I would have??? Is it because of our culture of Fast and Furious? The technology of today and managing infertility? How many would actually conceive it they waited? A very dear friend of mine tried for 8 years to have a baby. Then was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. She is in remission now, but has come to terms with being childless as she truly feels she and her husband absolutely wouldn’t have been able to bear going through the cancer with an infant and their personalities and lifestyle (God bless and be with those women/men that do!!). She waited on God, and he answered her prayer. Not in the way she wanted, but in a way that has refueled her purpose. And that’s most definitely God’s goal, isn’t it?

    I know I’m rambling, but this is my journal entry for today (typical)! I was a little disappointed to hear my oldest say that she didn’t remember us doing this Advent study last year (after loads of time and money spent on doing the FULL study). So this year I am scaling back and focusing on the words themselves and WAITING on God to fill in the rest for us. So far, so good!

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