Christmas Countdown Day 14 focused on the stable. Though Scripture doesn’t use the word “stable” to describe Jesus’ birthplace, it does say Jesus was placed in a manger after he was born, and there was no room for this young family at the local inn. Usually a manger would be found in a stable or barn. Today, we used our senses to explore the stable where Jesus was born. We imagined what we may have seen there, the sounds we would have heard, and what we might have smelled. While we read our Scripture passage in Luke chapter 2, the kids placed the figures in our small nativity and in doing so, placed themselves there too, experiencing what that night could have been like. We made stable ornaments, to help us remember where Jesus was born, and how God provided for them there in the stable.
Christmas Countdown Day 13 focused on Bethlehem. This town was where Joseph’s family was from, and where he and Mary had to travel to be counted in the census. Bethlehem was the “city of David,” the ancestral home of King David, whose line God promised would reign as kings in Israel forever. Prophets had foretold that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah, the King of Kings. But as Mary gave birth to Jesus in a Bethlehem stable and laid her son in a manger, where the animals would gather to eat, they must have felt far removed from royalty.
Bethlehem means “house of bread.” Bread is a basic staple of life. Even in the poorest of places, a scrap of bread will sustain and give life. The apostle John describes Jesus as the “bread of life.” He is what we need to truly live. And, Jesus made his entrance into the world in the house of bread, to offer each of us life. Our ornament for the day, made of egg cartons, helps remind us of Bethlehem, the birthplace of our Savior.