Hey mini-women! We’re well into the Christmas swing of things now, and I’m delighted to bring you the second week of Advent.
There’s a part of the Christmas story that often gets overlooked, mostly because it doesn’t directly involve the baby Jesus. But it’s so beautifully important to the story!
I’m talking about a little family of two that was soon to become three. No, not Mary and Joseph.
Zacharias and Elizabeth.
A bit before Mary got her life-changing visit from Gabriel, Zacharias got his own crazy visit from an angel who told him that his wife Elizabeth was pregnant and being that they were old enough to be your grandparents, he didn’t believe the angel at all! But of course God doesn’t make mistakes, and He doesn’t send his angels with made-up stories, so Elizabeth WAS pregnant.
And who was this miracle baby? John the Baptist!
See, God knew that sending His very own son was going to rock the world, and change our way of life forever, and He knew that the world would need prepared for this big transition, so He decided to send a messenger ahead of Jesus, to get the Israelites ready.
Think about in school when they give you a study guide before the final exam. Or when your soccer coach has you run sprints before the big tournament. How you practice the piano until your fingers cramp, to get ready for that big recital. When something BIG is coming up, you know that sometimes we have to do hard, even painful work to get prepared.
Now, at first glance, we might think, “Having Jesus come to earth is not as stressful as my final exam or a piano recital! In fact, Jesus is great news right? Who needs to do hard, painful work to get ready for good news?”
Well ladies, that’s what the Second Week of Advent is all about.
Repenting of your sins and turning your life around to make room for Jesus is not always easy fun work. In fact, it rarely is.
God knew that the Jews were not ready for Jesus and all of His teachings and they would need to do some serious heart-searching to root out any bad habits they had gotten into. Like maybe thinking too judgmentally of others while not looking at themselves. Or ignoring the poor and hoarding all the extra money they made instead of giving it away. Things like that.
So John the Baptist was there to give out some ‘tough love’ and remind everyone that yes, the Messiah was coming and He’ll be here soon, so let’s turn our lives around and get ready for Him!
Let’s take those bad habits, like gossiping or being sarcastic or not listening to our parents and turn away from them, to Jesus-habits like complimenting a friend behind their back, giving an honest answer instead a sarcastic one, or doing what our parents tell us to do, the first time they ask.
Will these changes be easy? Probably not. Sadly, it can be totally our human nature to lose focus on Jesus.
But we’ve got to make room for Him in our hearts and our lives. We have to be the one to start the process. Jesus is a gentleman. He won’t barge in unannounced or force His way into your heart. He stands and knocks and waits for us to open the door.
That’s why He chose to come as a little baby, and be born in a tiny stable, and didn’t seem to ask for much fanfare. He came quietly and let John the Baptist announce it before He did, to give us the chance to get ready for Him.
Mini-women, we should always be looking for ways to make our hearts more open to Jesus habits. But Christmas is a great time to remind us of this, to re-center, re-focus and get our hearts ready for that happy, happy Christmas morning.
In your Talking to God journals, ask God if there’s something that you’ve been holding on to too long, some bad habit that might make Christmas morning a little difficult to celebrate. If you’ve been rude to a friend, or talked back to your parents, talk to God about it, ask for His forgiveness, and go to that person and apologize, so that you can be happy to wake up and celebrate Christmas with that person on December 25th.
In your comments below, if you’d like to share, let us know what might keep you from having a happy Christmas and what you can do to change it. If there is something that is out of your control, you can tell us so we can pray about that for you! But I want to know if there is some problem in your life that you CAN start to fix, and what steps you’re going to take to make it happen!
I don’t know about you, but letting go of bad habits is really hard for me! One thing I’ve found helpful is replacing the bad habit with a better one instead of trying to completely get rid of it. For example, if you tend to get distracted surfing the net while you’re doing homework, you could try going to make a cup of tea (or maybe some hot cocoa during this Christmas season) instead when you feel tired of working. And of course, pray about it, especially when you’re feeling tempted to slip back into your old habit(s).
Letting go of bad habits and developing Jesus-habits doesn’t have to be another difficult thing to add to your to-do-list. You might want to make it a little more fun by rewarding yourself with something you love (maybe Christmas cookies!) after trying your best not to be sarcastic to your mom or writing in your Talking-To-God-Journal more.
Also, don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up and say something snarky to your mom or forget to write in your Talking-To-God-Journal – developing Jesus-habits is about having a heart that’s devoted to Him, not keeping a perfect track record, and thankfully God is full of forgiveness!
Love you mini-women! And I love getting our hearts ready to welcome Jesus! ~Hannah