By Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ At Heart International
Journey 2: Gather round your visual of the Christmas story with your Bibles. Begin with prayer thanking your Heavenly Father for His amazing gift, Jesus. Take a little time to report on what happened during Journey 1…any changes you may have made to welcome Jesus into the midst of your Christmas season – how you shared the Christmas story with a “busy person.” Ask one family member to pray for this person.
[Optional: Punch a hole in the corner of half of a 3X5 card. Write the person’s name on one side of the card. Have one of your family’s “artists” sketch his or her picture on the other. Thread a piece of yarn or string in the hole and tie a knot. At the end of report-time, place card way back inside the branches of your Christmas tree.]
Now read the passage for the second journey to Bethlehem (Luke 2:8-20) Try assigning the reading to three family members: one, the narrator, two, the angel and three, the shepherds.
Ask a family member to serve as scribe. In the center of an 8X10 blank piece of paper (or a small white board), using a marker, print the word ‘shepherd.’ Draw a circle around it. Let every family member suggest something that he admires about the shepherds. With another color marker, or a dark crayon, write down these admirable qualities on the blank space around the center word.
For example, someone might say the shepherds were brave because they protected the sheep from wild animals…and print ‘brave’ on the paper. See if you can fill up the paper with things you admire about the shepherds.
You might ask, “Who among us is like the shepherds, and in what way? Finish this part by asking, “Can we think of ways that we can tell others that we meet about the central figure in the story of Christmas – Jesus?” Give enough time for everyone to think and, hopefully, respond.
Finally…brainstorm together until you identify someone you can be a ‘shepherd’ to and present the true meaning of Christmas. Let your ‘scribe’ record who it is and what you hope to do in the coming days. OR you may decide to go in a different direction and identify someone you know who spends a lot of time telling others about Jesus. [This might be a pastor, a youth worker or a lay leader who is known for his witnessing.] Think of a way to show you appreciate this person and pray for him or her. Whichever direction you go, figure out some way you can bless that person…helping him/her towards her own journey to Bethlehem.
Something to think about: And, you’ve probably already thought about this: December, with its emphasis on celebration and gift giving, creates many natural opportunities to share what Christmas means to us. We can find gentle, winsome ways to point out the obvious: Christmas is, first of all, about “Christ” who came as a baby and grew up to be our Savior.
So I ask, how do the decorations in and out of your house shed light on this? How about the mail and email messages you send to greet family and friends? Are you an integral part of your church life in December, especially as your fellowship invites you to join in and reach out? Have you ever “shopped” from one of the many wonderful gift catalogues mission agencies send?
The shepherds did not use their ordinary responsibilities to excuse them from seeking out the Christ child, worshiping Him and then telling everyone one they met about Him. May we all have shepherds’ hearts and voices.
Please remember. This is a collaborative effort! Make sure your journey fits your family in every way possible, all members participating as they can.
Next time, we’ll share ideas for Journey 3. Remember, we welcome your comments and ideas.