The First 15

Thursday December 15, 2022

by Thomas Mitchell

Today is Thursday, December 15 and this week continues our journey through the Advent season as we see they way Jesus involves family in the Advent project.

Scripture Reading

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 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 bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 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.” Luke 1:11-13, 16-17


Advent is a time for families. And it is through families– both the family of God and faithful natural families – that God works.

This Advent we are considering that we each come from someone (family lines), somewhere (locations), and something (stories). When we meet Jesus, we become part of the family of God. We share in mind and heart as we aim to glorify God.

Elizabeth and Zechariah were swept up into this same story after spending the majority of their lives leading normal lives. A Levitical priest, Zechariah, encounters an angel while at the altar of incense in the temple. His wife, Elizabeth, a relative of Mary, is about to become pregnant with John the Baptist. With the nation of Israel under the thumb of the Romans, the idea that their son was to be used by God to shake up both the faithful and faithless to awaken to God was most probably a wonderful prospect.

When Jesus opens a heart to receive him, his intent is never to stop there. He plans to use anyone in one’s natural family who will come along, and, if not, the family of God given to us to encourage us in our faith. There is always a network of those impacted, who get swept up in what God is doing in our midst.

In the Advent story, we see that the project was always an extended family affair and is intended to be with us as well. Jesus involves families throughout his mission and ministry. The family of God was designed to work together, just as Elizabeth and Zechariah had a significant role to play in both John and Jesus coming to maturity together, ready to face the fire that would come with their mission to bring God’s love and power on earth.

John would prepare the way– and Jesus would fulfill the words of Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

How has the family of God become a community with which you can participate in sharing the love of God in your town or city? Is there something you have planned as a way of helping others for which you could stop and pray, for God to move?

Closing Prayer

Father God, I surrender to your work in and through my family of faith and my natural family. I pray that we would together see your kingdom come, your will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. Show me the part I have to play, and lead me into acts of faith that open hearts to you. Amen.

Songs of the Season

Listen and sing along with us to songs that will shape our Advent season. Today we will sing “The Blessing” which you can find here. Subscribe to our Spotify playlist featuring all of our Songs for the Season here.

First 15 through the season of Advent is adapted from Roots: Advent and the Family Story of Jesus available through Seedbed. If you or your small group are interested in using this resource for your Advent study, you can find more information here or send an email to

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