By Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ At Heart International
Gather round your Christmas scene. Before you take your third journey, briefly review the first two. Take turns praying, first, for the ‘busy person’ from Journey One. Find their name tucked away in the branches of your Christmas tree to remind you of the one you identified as too busy to enjoy Christmas. Did he welcome your witness?
On another little card, write the name of the person in Journey Two that you identified. Share what adventures God led you to as you ‘shepherded’ them with the Good News of Jesus’ birth. Hide that card, similar to the first, way back in the branches of your tree. Take time to thank your Heavenly Father for His Gift!
Journey 3: You probably already know about the Wise Men, from past years; even so let someone read Matthew 2:9-11. If you have time, let your family ‘scribe’ write down three character traits you think the Wise Men shared in common. What do you admire most about them?
Among the various traits you wrote down, you probably have something like…they went out of their way to be generous. Yes – they came prepared, and they went back home much lighter…they gave generously.
Now, ask one of your family members who reads well out loud to read the following true story. […or change readers with every new paragraph.]
“The young mom woke very, very early in the morning because she was in such awful pain. It was so severe that she was weeping when she got her husband up. They quickly decided she needed to see a doctor. It was an emergency!
“But what about the two small kids, ages seven and eight, who were still fast asleep? They couldn’t be left alone in the house. Mom and Dad prayed for guidance. They remembered that their neighbor next door had a friendly smile whenever they happened to meet. But they had never visited in her home, nor shared a meal.
“Still, they bundled up their two children, and took them next door. It was still dark outside. Ringing the bell, they woke their sleepy neighbor. She quickly figured out what was happening and gladly took the two little girls in, settling them on the couch while their parents hurried on to find urgent care.
“Now, the neighbor wasn’t really a close friend; she didn’t seem to have much in common with the young family next door. And yet, in the middle of the night, when trouble came, she gave the gift of hospitality and safety, even though it was inconvenient.” [Note: if you have a few minutes, act out the story!]
Take time, now, and see if you can identify someone in your family’s life who has given generously to make your way a little brighter. Remember some gifts can’t be wrapped in tissue and tied with a bow. Together, decide what you can do in the next few days to show how grateful you are.
[Note: It just may be that God is going to send your family an opportunity to give a generous gift of help or encouragement to a person soon. Perhaps you could find how to send a greeting or a small gift to someone serving with the military. Remember, Jesus said that when you do something good for another in His Name it’s as if you were doing it for Him.]
Please remember. This is a collaborative effort! Encourage each one to join in. Remind your family ‘scribe’ to keep track of what you decide and how the adventure turns out.
The days are probably getting busier and life is more festive…and hectic! By prayer, keep Jesus in His rightful place as the center of the Christmas story. Journey Four comes with our next blog entry. Join us again.