By Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ At Heart International
Journey 4: Gather round your visual of the Christmas story with your Bibles. Begin with prayer thanking your Heavenly Father for His amazing gift, Jesus.
Try to find enough time to report on what happened in past Journeys, especially the last one with a focus on the Wise Men. Pray for the family, or person you chose to thank for the generosity they showed you. Put their name on a card similar to the first two and tuck it away somewhere within the branches of your Christmas tree.
Now have someone read the passage for this journey to Bethlehem: Luke 2:1-7.& 19. For most of us, this is a very familiar story, told over and over again especially at this time of the year. If there are enough members in your family, why not create the scene letting different ones play the role of Joseph and Mary, and add other ‘characters’ from the Luke account, or make up some of your own. Let each person introduce himself, or herself, saying something like, “Hi, I’m the inn keeper’s wife who brought hot water and clean cloths to help Mary give birth….” Let each person choose a character and have each one speak in turn.
Or, here’s another idea: While one of your favorite Christmas carols is playing, create/draw the scene from these verses on a clean, 8×10 sheet of white paper. Let the first person start by sketching a manger(feed trough) in the bottom center. Pass the paper to the next person who adds the Baby. The next one in turn might draw Mary…then Joseph…then an animal…passing the paper around the circle quickly until the carol has finished playing. Place your “masterpiece” somewhere to prompt you to remember this “reason for the season!”
Read: It’s really hard to imagine what it must have been like for Mary. She was young. She had never before given birth and there is no record of a midwife being there. Certainly her own mother was not present to help. Was the cave drafty? What were the smells and sounds like? When the shepherds crowded in, did they wake the Baby and make Him cry? Take time to talk about this.
Read Luke 2:19 again, ‘…but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often’ is how the New Living Translation puts it. Share what you think Mary remembered most and why?
Kids, maybe your mom (if she’s part of the group) would share with the rest of you what she treasures up in her heart about your birth! Isn’t it wonderful that when God created a plan to give the world His ‘only begotten Son,’ that Son came as a newborn infant…a helpless baby dependent on adults for His every need. Take a minute to be quiet and think about this. Then, let someone close with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
Finally, take time to identify someone you know, or could find out about, who resembles someone in this Journey to Bethlehem. Perhaps you already know a family with a new born child, right now – or who had a child born at Christmas time. Brainstorm ways your family could bless them. Another idea: with a little research, you might find a ministry to teen-aged mothers in your community and find a way to help. Call your church office and ask about this, or check with your local Youth for Christ ministry.
Please remember. This is a collaborative effort! Encourage each one to join in as you take this Journey to Bethlehem with Mary. Remind your family “scribe” to keep track of what you decide and how the adventure turns out.
It won’t be long, now, and Christmas will be here…in your community, in your home, in your hearts. Please remember we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, not ours. The best present we can give Him is to keep Him at the center of our Christmas journey.
We’ll bring you one more, final Journey blog entry next week. Watch for it!