Week 3: The Joy of Home
Luke 3:15-16 New International Reader's Version 
15The people were waiting. They were expecting something. They were all wondering in their hearts if John might be the Messiah. 16John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I am will come. I’m not good enough to untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Visual Aids: All cookie cutter shapes.
Cookie shape: Heart (Click here to download PDF template.)
Today’s scripture passage is about a man named John. John the Baptist baptized people who were sorry for their sins, or mistakes. John told the people to turn away from those sins and to be baptized.
Everyone was waiting for the coming Messiah. They were expecting something to happen. People were wondering in their hearts if John might be the one that God had sent. John came before Jesus and prepared people for him. He knew Jesus was the Savior of the world and told everyone they needed to follow Jesus. He had been telling people for a long time that Jesus was coming and when he did arrive, he would baptize them with the power of the Holy Spirit.
And do you know that when Jesus did arrive, he asked John to baptize him? Did Jesus baptize John instead? John felt unworthy, but he did what Jesus asked. After Jesus was baptized, the voice of God was heard. What did the voice of God say? (Allow children to answer.) The voice of God said, “This is the son that I love. I am pleased with him. I love him.”
I wonder how the people who watched from the shores of the river felt when they heard the voice of God boom out and saw a dove land on Jesus’ head as he came up out of the water. How would you feel? (Allow children to answer.) The love of God surely was in that place. The love of God was surely in the hearts of all those who witnessed it.
What cookie cutter shape do you think we will go home with today? (Allow children to choose.) That is right; it is the heart. You may think that a heart-shaped cookie might be better for a holiday other than Christmas, but just as John the Baptist encouraged those being baptized to live a life of love, so we who have experienced God’s love can display God’s love toward others. How might we do that this time of year? I am sure that now you understand the love of God that fills all our hearts during this Advent season.
As you prepare, bake, and wait for the heart-shaped cookies to be ready, wonder together with your family about these things:
- I wonder how John felt as he told people that Jesus was coming.
- I wonder how the people felt when they saw Jesus being baptized and heard God’s voice.
- I wonder how I can be more like John and tell others about Jesus.
Prayer: Loving God, as we recognize the heart-shaped cookie and all the love that it represents, fill us with your love. May we show others the love that you have for your son Jesus and the love that you have for all your children to be shown to others during this Christmas season. Give us many opportunities to show our “hearts” and love others. Amen.