By Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ At Heart International
Here’s a December challenge for you and your family.
Along with all the extra activities that come with celebrating, please take the challenge outlined below. Remember, little in the story of Jesus’ birth was ‘easy.’ So…
… gather your family together as soon as possible. Find a visual of the nativity, from ornate to a very simple picture; you probably already have something at hand, or easily accessible.
Determine a time soon when your family can meet and create a several-day focus on one part of the Christmas story. The key here is to prayerfully determine a time that can/will be repeated on a regular basis.
Here are my suggestions for four successive journeys to Bethlehem to find…
- A busy person involved in a commercial business. – In Bethlehem, there was this inn keeper who told Joseph (Luke 2:7) ‘…there’s no room for you in my place.’
- News broadcasters. – In the fields outside Bethlehem, shepherds, after hearing good news, checked out the facts to make sure they were reliable and then…. (Luke 2:15-17) ‘…the shepherds told everyone what had happened.’
- Someone whose giving brings joy. – Wise men traveled some distance to Bethlehem … (Matt.2:9-11) ‘They entered the house where the Child and his mother Mary were, and they fell down before him and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts…’
- A mother with a very young child. – Mary delivered her Baby in an unusual place for such an event, even in crowded Bethlehem. Shehad little human help and no record is made of a baby shower beforehand. (Luke 2:1-7) ‘…she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger…’
So here’s how this works:
Journey 1: Gather round your visual of the Christmas story with your Bibles. Begin with prayer thanking your Heavenly Father for His amazing gift. Perhaps one family member could share briefly what that means in her life, today.
Then read the passage for your first journey to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-7) and visit the inn keeper who couldn’t squeeze one more guest into his busy establishment, but who finally agreed to let Mary and Joseph find shelter with his animals. (This would be a good place to assign parts and act out the story.)
You might ask, “Are there any ways we, as a family, crowd Jesus out of our home, or, maybe put Him in a corner of the garage…out of the way so we can get on with the stuff that’s really important to us? What should we do about it if there are?”
Finally….brainstorm together until you identify some “busy person” who serves your family…the man who brings bottled water, the person who does yard work, your postman, your favorite clerk for check out at the supermarket, a teacher….you get the idea. Figure out some way you can bless that person, sharing the true meaning…. helping him/her towards his own journey to Bethlehem.
Please remember. This is a collaborative effort! Let a volunteer in your family keep a little journal recording the decisions you make and what you did…and maybe some interesting results?
Again, for the timing of this challenge…. It might take less than a week to complete each journey. Still, try to meet the same time each week. Please make sure each journey fits your family in every way possible, all members participating as they can.
Just determine, prayerfully, at the beginning, that you will complete all the journeys and capture something of the awe and beauty of worshiping Jesus, God’s amazing gift for us all.
This is enough to get you going. Journey 2 will be next.