Arriving at Bethlehem

Bethlehem donkeyBy Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ At Heart International

This December we invited you to Journey to Bethlehem and meet characters out of the Christmas story: A very busy Inn Keeper, Shepherds, Wise Men and Mary.  You translated this into your own creative actions to bless people in your community.

As December 25 draws near, make plans for a final look back at this adventure and record the benefits to your family and, finally, to praise your Heavenly Father for His marvelous gift in Jesus.

Your family has its own unique tradition for opening gifts…Christmas Eve or sometime on December 25.  This year, as you gather together, make the final “journey” to your own hearts and rejoice in what God has done in and for you.  We’re including some readings for the individuals in focus:

  1. Overheard in the Market – the Inn Keeper
  2. Great Joy for All Peoples – the shepherds
  3. As With Gladness…- the Wise Men
  4. Christmas Perfume & Christmas – Mary

CREATE a simple program with these readings or with something else you choose.  Let each family member take part.  The point is to take time to recognize our Savior, Jesus, Whose birthday we celebrate at this season.

Blessings for Christmas…and JOY in the New Year!



by Nancy Tichy

 Ben, my husband, is a burly man,

with a tender heart.

His organizational skills aren’t the best,

but I maintain the books and direct the staff,

and manage to keep our large family flourishing.

Business has never been better,

what with the Emperor’s ambitious plans

to count everyone in the whole world.

So the people are pouring into Bethlehem

and our Inn is packed to the limits.

Last night, I stood behind Ben

when he answered a soft knock at our door.

No way were we going to crowd in

one more person.  I had to make sure of that.

Why the only bed left was our own and

I think I have the right to draw

the line there!

I’ll admit my heart was touched.

She was pale, and had to be exhausted,

perched on the back of a donkey.

Though she never looked up, the young man

pleaded with his eyes even more

than his voice.  But,

I kept strong.  After all, I’m a busy

woman with incredible demands on my life.

God would never ask me to accept

some poor couple with a medical condition

that might put me at risk –

to fit them into my crowded existence.

Surely there were others who could

better meet their needs.

Ben said he thought we had somehow

missed a divine appointment.

Well, I did say a quick prayer for

the couple asking Jehovah to bless them.

Surely, that’s more than enough.

Isn’t it?


by Nancy Tichy

Armed with expressions of glory to God

the heavenly peacekeeping force

startled poor shepherds

~homeless that night~

for the sake of their sheep

Not the wealthy and powerful

 nor the politically correct

but rough herdsmen

first witnessed God’s glory and

set out to find the Babe

witnessing gladly to all who would hear

that the angels spoke truth

Centuries later this truth

meant for all peoples

is still being shared

 ~ rarely by angels ~

alive in earth bound messengers

to students and shopkeepers in sprawling cities

and to all who respond to the message

of hope for new life

echoing joy from that first Christmas night.


by William C. Dix

As with gladness, men of old

did the guiding star behold,

As with joy they hailed its light

leading onward, beaming bright,

So, most gracious Lord, may we

evermore be led to Thee.

As with joyful steps they sped

to the Infant’s simple bed,

There to bend the knee before

Him whom heaven and earth adore.

So, may we with willing feet

Ever seek Your mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare

to the Christ Child, sweet and fair

So may we with holy joy

pure and free from sin’s alloy,

all our costliest treasures bring,

Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.


by Nancy Tichy

FRAGRANCE of fresh hay

crushed by the Infant King who cradles with

musty dampness and animal smells

No antiseptic birthing room

but EARTHY SCENTS to welcome all

who come to worship Him

So my life, Christ indwelt, gives off

the smell of death to some,

to others, the BREATH OF LIFE

May I, like Mary, be equal to the task

II Cor. 2:14-16



by Nancy Tichy 

Was Mary lonely?

~~ longing for her mother’s touch

when the pangs of birth assailed her

Did Joseph feel inadequate?

~~ struggling to be both midwife

and nervous, new father

What could lift their spirits?

~~ reports of hillside angel-gladness

and that wondrous stellar guidance

faint comfort in a cave.

Even so ~~

this simple couple’s obedient faith

gave shepherds leaping joy to spread Good News,

convinced the Wise Men

to listen to their own dream wisdom

and risk an untried way

A needy world surrounds us, too

watching to see us live above our downward-tugging

fears and doubts

with steady, faith-filled demonstration

that now, as then, God is a Keeper of Promises and

loving Provider for those who honor Him.


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