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The Nativity of John the Baptist

Tomorrow is the Nativity of John the Baptist so beginning at sunset tonight, we will be celebrating the birth of John the Baptist.

We don’t celebrate the nativity of John the Baptist much anymore but we should and here’s why:

Jesus himself says in Matthew 11 that “among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist”. He is the greatest of the prophets for he was chosen to prepare the way for our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

The birth of John the Baptist is so important that the gospel author, Luke, weaves his birth story with the birth story of Jesus. His own birth story is given a prominent position in Jesus’ nativity story.

Some cool things about the Nativity of John the Baptist:

The day that we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist occurs six months before the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. When Mary asks the angel Gabriel how it is possible that she would bear God’s son, Gabriel answers that the Holy Spirit will overshadow her and that her cousin Elizabeth is already six months pregnant with John.

The Nativity of John the Baptist occurs right after the summer solstice which is the longest day of the year. After the summer solstice, the days begin to grow shorter as we move towards Christmas just as John the Baptist said that he must decrease so that Jesus can increase.

Ways to celebrate

+Read the birth story of John the Baptist in Luke 1:5-25,39-45,57-80

+Light a bonfire - tradition has it that Elizabeth lit a bonfire to announce the birth of her son. All over the world, Christians light "Saint John's fires" on mountains and hilltops on the eve of his feast. In Ireland, the blessed ashes from the St. John’s fires are sprinkled over the fields to ensure a good harvest.

+Eat something made with honey. Since John the Baptist is known to have eaten locusts and wild honey as an adult, make something with honey or locusts or both! We choose honey!

+Make things easy by celebrating with a fire and smores using honey graham crackers.

+Throw water balloons or have a water war with your kids. Since John the Baptist is known for baptizing those who repented, include water in your celebrations.


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