Skip to main content
baptism shell Jesse Tree symbol

A time to get ready

December 21

Read: Matthew 3:1-6

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.


When someone comes to your house, they don’t just come right in. They usually knock or ring the doorbell. It’s how they announce that they’re coming.

If your mom or dad is especially tidy, they might pick up a few toys and stack a few papers before they answer the door. The time between hearing the doorbell and answering the door gives them a chance to clean up—to prepare for the person to come in.

John the Baptist was kind of like a doorbell for Jesus. He let everyone know that Jesus was coming. John came first, giving everyone a chance to prepare their hearts for Jesus.

He invited people to confess their sins and be baptized, so that they could be clean when Jesus arrived.

Like John and the people he baptized, we can prepare for Jesus to come. We can confess and repent of our sins. We can ask God to make us clean. We can make our hearts ready to receive Jesus at Christmas!


What do you do before someone comes to your house? How can you, like John the Baptist, be like a doorbell for Jesus?


Lord, what parts of my heart are messy? Would you help me clean up and be ready for you to come? Amen.

This devotion is part of

The Jesse Tree Story:
A Family Advent Devotional

Each devotion in this family Advent devotional invites you into the story of someone on Jesus’s family tree. These devotions will show young children how God was preparing for Jesus to be born across many generations. Each story pairs with a symbol you can hang on your own Jesse Tree.

Get the devotional
Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. However, we were not paid to review or recommend any of the links on this page.