Journey to the Manger: Zechariah the prophet

Lauren pats down wet toilet paper to cover a bowl. Though the project wasn't finished today (on purpose!), the kids did get to splash quite a bit of water around.

Lauren intently works on her art project

On our Journey to the Manger today, we became friends with Zechariah the prophet.

God used Zechariah to call for repentance, as well as encourage the people of Israel. God reinforced His promises of hope and salvation through Zechariah, reminding the Hebrews that the Messiah was coming to rule as King. Even though they were facing difficult circumstances, the people knew that one day the Savior would arrive!

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

– Zechariah 9:9

Zechariah the prophet

Zechariah the prophet

Zechariah didn’t know the time frame of the Messiah’s appearance, he just knew God’s Son would come. Zechariah took God at His Word, and believed. God’s salvation and the Righteous Redeemer was worth the wait. The Israelites would need to cling to these promises for hundreds of years until God was made flesh and dwelt among them.

Today we began an art project that gave us an inkling of the patience Zechariah and many others exercised waiting on God to send the Savior. We wrapped toilet paper over a bowl and wet it down again and again until a thick covering formed. Then we set it aside. We tried to figure out how long it might take for it to completely dry, with guesses ranging from a few hours to a day (in kid terms: forever). This project will be the skirt for an angel we will make when we meet the Heavenly Host in the night sky on our Journey to the Manger. We counted 15 days until we can finish what we started. Though both kids were a little disappointed we couldn’t complete it today, they accepted that there was a good reason we had to wait.

God’s promises are sure. We can count on God to do what He says He will do. Even so, we struggle in the waiting. We want God to answer our prayers or come through for us on our time-table. In other words, God needs to show up right now! Our Heavenly Father wants more for us. He knows how much our hearts are shaped for holiness “in the meantime.”

God will follow through. He always finishes what He begins.

 

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.

Journey to the Manger: Begin with God

Jackson and Lauren hold their Journey to the Manger activity books in front of our Christmas Countdown board. Each day, we match a person (or animal) to the poster.

Jackson and Lauren are thrilled to have their own activity book for our annual Christmas countdown. This year we are taking a Journey to the Manger. Each day we will meet a person (or animal) in the Christmas story.

Christmas time is here!! In the Cobb home, we want to make Christmas count by captivating our children’s hearts for Christ. That’s why we purposefully take time to celebrate Jesus throughout the month of December.

Today marks the start of the Advent season and the beginning of my family’s Journey to the Manger. Each day through December 25, we will learn about one person (or animal) and their role in the Christmas story. After our family devotion, we will enjoy activities and projects to help us better understand and remember what we have learned.

God the Father

God the Father

Christmas begins and ends in the same place: with the heart of God. The first person we met on our journey to the manger was God the Father. God is never surprised or caught off guard by what happens in our lives. Before God even created us, He knew that we would make mistakes, that there would be times we would turn away from Him and break His laws. Yet, He still loved us, and decided to make a way for us to come back to Him. God came up with a plan to send His One and Only Son to give us hope and salvation. Christmas starts with God and His great love for us.

Just as God the Father came up with a plan to give us hope, we created a plan to pray for one person each day leading up to Christmas. In a twist on the classic Christmas chain countdown, we wrote one name on each chain that we will pray for before we go to bed each night.

The kids hold their Christmas prayer chains high. Each day we will pray to our Father God for one person as we countdown to Jesus's birthday.

The kids hold their Christmas prayer chains high. Each day we will pray to our Father God for one person as we countdown to Jesus’s birthday.

 

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.