By 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:
- Overheard in the Market – the Inn Keeper
- Great Joy for All Peoples – the shepherds
- As With Gladness…- the Wise Men
- 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!
OVERHEARD IN THE MARKET
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.
GREAT JOY FOR ALL PEOPLES
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.
THE WISE MEN
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.