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. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.

Luke 1:13-15


Extra readings: Luke 1:67-79; Isaiah 40:1-5; Malachi 3:1 and Matthew 3:1-4

How did you know that Christmas was coming?

Was it a TV advert of flying reindeers and the song “Jingle Bells” being sung, or was it the “First Noel” they were playing in the mall when you went shopping? Whatever it was, it served as an announcement that Christmas was going to happen in a few weeks’ time. Wow, gifts and tinsel and a Christmas tree.

That was exactly the role of John the Baptist, he was the announcer of the imminent Messiah.

His ministry of announcing the coming of Jesus Christ as the Saviour was foretold in the Old Testament and so it was fitting that he was born a short while before his cousin. His ministry of calling Israel to repentance also started some time before Jesus began his ministry. He was the herald, the praise singer, for Jesus.

The gospel of Luke gives an in-depth account of the angel telling John the Baptist’s father,Zechariah, that he was going to have a son whom he was to name John. It also records the fulfilment of that announcement in the pregnancy of his wife, Elizabeth, and John’s subsequent birth. The biblical announcement to Zechariah, and to us, is that the advent of Jesus Christ would cause many to rejoice because of his birth, but that there would also be pain and disappointment because of it.

What pain and disappointment could ensue from the life of a Messiah? As his life went, so will yours. If you choose to acknowledge and follow him, you are entering a war against evil. You will face resistance from the devil and from people. Are you ready to tell others about Jesus, despite the opposition?


Dear Father, allow me to see not only the earthly kingdom of Jesus but also the Kingdom of God, the spiritual kingdom.

Here’s how you could do this devotional with your family:

1. Prepare by wrapping small gifts for each child to give to the others.
2. Begin by discussing the happy things that can happen at Christmas time (gifts, decorating the tree, family gatherings). And how about the sad things? (hungry people, lonely people, kids that don’t get presentsetc).
3. Discuss how you as a family might meet a need in the community this Christmas. Perhaps your church is organising something? Here’s another idea.

Santa Shoebox

4. Explain that the joy of Christmas is shaped not merely by what we receive but actually by what we give.
5. Finish with the giving of the gifts you prepared earlier and then allowing the children to open their Day 12 Advent Calendar