Today we learned about King Herod on our Journey to the Manger.
King Herod was a mean man. Desperate to keep his power, Herod constantly looked to place himself ahead of others, with whatever means necessary. When wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem looking to worship the King of the Jews, Herod tried to squash this new threat to his preeminence by lying.
Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.”
– Matthew 2:7-8
King Herod’s intentions were to kill the child the wise men were seeking. In fact, after Herod realized the wise men weren’t going to return to tell him the location of the child, he sent soldiers to murder every baby age two and under in Bethlehem to make sure this so-called “King of the Jews” would not rise up against him.
A sure-fire way to destroy Christmas is to make it all about you. King Herod was only concerned with himself, leaving destruction and great sorrow in his path. On the other hand, Jesus came to give peace and new life. Often as Christmas approaches, we have a tendency to focus on “what we’re getting” instead of “what we’re giving”. This can leave us feeling empty and unhappy.
Today, we participated in a “Give and Take” illustration. Jackson and Lauren each held the ends of a rope. When they both tried to “take”, they fought against one other to pull the rope their way. Neither was happy, and both were provoked. Then, when one “gave” and the other “took”, it had the potential to make one stumble (we made sure to have pillows behind us as we experimented!) Finally, when both “gave”, it brought them together.
Christmas is about giving: God gave us His One and Only Son. We, too, can offer others the hope and love of Jesus. We can share gifts to show we care about others. When Christians give, it not only unifies us, it brings us closer to God’s heart.
Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.