Have someone read Luke 3:15-17 and 21-22. (Isaiah 43: 1-7 is optional but beautiful!) OR read about the baptism of Jesus from your favorite children’s Bible. My two favorites are the Spark Story Bible (page 242) or the Jesus Story Bible (200).
For children: tell them about the day that they were baptized if they have been. If not tell about your own baptism, a siblings baptism or one that you have seen. Who was there? What words were said? God loves you the same no matter what both before you are baptized and after. God’s love is forever and always. In baptism, we are publically proclaiming that God holds us our entire life and is always with us. We also publically proclaim it is God’s grace and love in Jesus Christ that saves us and nothing that we do. We are so joyful about that love though that we can’t keep it to ourselves and so often a candle is given to the family and the following words are said, “Let your light so shine before others so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” How can you let your light shine? What are ways that you can share God with friends at school or in your neighborhood?
For youth/adults: The words of Isaiah 43: 1-7 are clear reminders of what God declares about God’s relationship with us. We are called by name and loved forever. Luke 3:17 echoes verse two in Isaiah 43-the chaff will be burned and we will walk through fire and not be burned. While this imagery of being on fire is strong and seems final and frightening (who can survive being burned?), fire is also a purifier. God loves us too much to leave us alone! We all have things that we need God to purify in our lives and the good news is that through Jesus Christ all of those things God takes care of and leaves us whole! We are not consumed but restored. We were created in for God’s glory! (Isaiah 43:7) We don’t need to fear. When was a time that you really needed to hear “do not be afraid?” When have you been that voice for someone else? How does knowing that we are not alone, God is with us and that we are created for God’s glory impact how you live every day?
God, you call us each by our names and we are created just who are supposed to be by you. Let us hear those words, “Do not fear, I am with you and I love you” loud and clear in my life. May all people hear those words, those who are hurting, lonely or scared. We are grateful for your love made real to us in Jesus. Amen
Faith + Serve: Serving does not have to look like a big trip or being a missionary in a foreign country. Living into our baptism means that every day we look for ways large and small to serve our neighbor-those we know and those we don’t know. As we begin the new year, let’s look for ways that we serve each other in our daily lives: shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor, helping a brother or sister with their homework, carrying groceries in for mom or dad, getting a cup of coffee for a coworker, letting someone in line ahead of you at the grocery store, etc. Bring these examples to worship-they are all ways to be the light of Christ in the world. We will write them down on candles and put them by the baptismal font.