Journey to the Manger: Shepherds

Lauren cradles our baby Jesus in her arms, imagining what it might have been like for the shepherds to see the Messiah.

Lauren cradles our baby Jesus in her arms, imagining what it might have been like for the shepherds to see the Messiah the night he was born.

Today we ran to Bethlehem with the shepherds on our Journey to the Manger.

Shepherds

Shepherds

Once they got over the shock of being face-to-face with an angel, the shepherds soaked in the amazing message of hope and the chorus of praise echoing across the fields. The Savior, the Messiah, was in Bethlehem, just a few miles from where they were, wrapped up and cradled in a manger, of all places. God had chosen them, outcast shepherds, to herald His Son’s birth. What an amazing, unprecedented honor!

The shepherds proved their trust in God Almighty. They left their livelihood resting under the night’s sky, and high-tailed it across the open fields to see with their eyes what they already believed in their hearts.

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.

– Luke 2:15-16

The shepherds were committed. Who knows how long they looked for Jesus, but they kept searching until they found the One the angel announced. Tonight, we searched for the baby, too. We each took turns placing a doll somewhere in our great room, and then everyone else had to come search for it.

Faith must be followed by action. The shepherds believed, and then went to worship and then share the Good News with everyone they met. This Christmas, God wants His message of hope to move us to action. He is looking for those willing to relentlessly pursue Christ, no matter the cost.

Christmas isn’t to observe from a distance. Jesus came so we could personally experience His love, and feel His embrace.

Jackson holds the baby after searching for it in our game tonight.

Jackson holds the baby after searching for it in our game tonight.

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: Donkey

Jackson works to pin the tail on the donkey.

Jackson works to pin the tail on the donkey.

A donkey met us on the path as we continued our Journey to the Manger today.

Donkey

Donkey

We don’t know how Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Many traditions and depictions of the Nativity show Mary riding on a donkey. We don’t know what animals may have been in the stable where Jesus is born, maybe a donkey, some sheep, or a cow. Jesus’s beginnings here on Earth were so humble.

Mary may have entered Bethlehem on a donkey, great with child, but later her son Jesus would ride triumphantly into Jerusalem on a donkey in the midst of waved palm branches and cries of Hosanna.

Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!

– John 12:15

Jesus is our King! Born in a manger and resurrected from the grave, Jesus came here for you and me, so we could know Him and feel His love and presence.

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.