Journey to the Manger: Celebrate Jesus!

On Christmas morning, Jackson and Lauren stand by our Journey to the Manger calendar, complete with Jesus!

On Christmas morning, Jackson and Lauren stand by our Journey to the Manger calendar, complete with Jesus!

Our Journey to the Manger has finally reached the stable, and we are celebrating the birth of Jesus this Christmas Day!

When we all woke up this morning, we gathered around our Advent calendar. Jackson reminded us that our Christmas countdown began with our Heavenly Father, and ends today with Jesus. Christmas is wrapped up in the blessings of God! God came to us at Christmas, offering Himself to us so we could personally know Him and feel His love.

Christmas is this:

God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

– John 3:16

Jesus

Jesus

We celebrate God’s presence today, His salvation and sacrifice! We believe not just that Jesus came for all the world, but that He came for us.

Before we opened our gifts today, we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and read the Christmas story in Luke 2. Later we will bake a birthday cake for our Savior!

This has been an amazing month of preparation, and now Christmas is here! We want to give special thanks to Focus on the Family and Thriving Family Magazine for the Journey to the Manger Advent Calendar.

May Jesus reign in your hearts this Christmas! It’s time to celebrate!!

Merry Christmas!

Journey to the Manger: Mary

Lauren and Jackson at our church's candelight Christmas Eve service

Lauren and Jackson at our church’s candlelight Christmas Eve service

On Christmas Eve, we pondered with Mary on our Journey to the Manger.

Mary was there for it all. The Angel Gabriel appeared to her to announce the Messiah was coming, and she would be His mom. She believed and trusted Her Heavenly Father, and went to visit her cousin Elizabeth to see God’s miraculous power first-hand. She spent three months with Zechariah and Elizabeth, and may have even seen the birth of John the Baptist. Mary traveled with her betrothed husband Joseph to Bethlehem to be counted in the census declared by Caesar Augustus. When they arrived, no one would give them room, and the two ended up in a stable when Mary went into labor. She gave birth to a son, wrapped him in strips of cloths and laid him in the manger. When the shepherds arrived later and bowed low before her newborn baby, they must have told amazing stories of an angel proclaiming the Messiah’s birth and heavenly hosts filling the night’s sky. Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple, and while there to fulfill the law concerning their son, they met Simeon and Anna who prophesied about Jesus. Later, wise men came and worshiped Jesus, laying expensive gifts before Him, telling them of the star that guided them from so far away. Joseph then helped Mary and Jesus quickly escape Jerusalem when God came to him in a dream revealing Herod‘s evil plans. Mary and Joseph eventually made their way back to Nazareth, where they raised their son.

Mary

Mary

Mary experienced these moments and so many more as she watched her precious Son grow, in favor with God and man. She was there when Jesus performed his first miracle, turning water to wine. She watched and heard about His travels from town to town proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven was here. She marveled as her Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, fed thousands, even raised the dead.

And, Mary stood at the foot of the cross, where her child hung by nails pierced through His hands and feet.

Mary was there at the beginning and at the end.

The night Jesus was born, Scripture tells us that Mary treasured every moment. She stored every tear, every kiss, every snuggle, deep within her heart. She wondered and worshiped as she listened to the shepherds and watched them praise God for her perfect little boy.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

– Luke 2:19

Jesus is our treasure. He longs to reign in our hearts, for us to ponder His love and abundant grace.

Tonight, our family pondered Jesus’s story and treasured it up in our hearts at our church’s candlelight Christmas Eve service. We watched candles being lit as Scripture was read, and sang carols praising God for His great gift of love. When we returned home, we spent time together talking about what a wonderful month we’ve had approaching the manger and focusing on Jesus, the greatest gift of all.

I can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas Eve than treasuring the Savior we will celebrate tomorrow!