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.

Uproot

Luke 2:6

My Jesus Journey – Luke 2:1-7, Jesus is born in Bethlehem

God moves heaven and earth when the time is right.

Jesus is about to make His introduction to humanity, and God instigates a census of the entire Roman empire (much of the world). God cares about every, single detail, which means all the prophecy of His Word must be fulfilled. So, Joseph takes his very pregnant fiance on a road trip to Bethlehem, the home of his ancestors, to be counted.

God will uproot our lives to accomplish His will and fulfill His promise.

Consider all the people who had to leave their livelihoods and families to travel back to their hometowns and ancestral villages for the Roman census. People of all races, heritages, religions, social statuses and economic classes were moved because of the birth of one child. I’m sure most weren’t thrilled with the Roman edict, and were annoyed by the inconvenience.

God’s will isn’t always in our timing or our plan. It may complicate our lives, and we may never understand the point. In fact, God’s will may move us in ways specifically to open a path for His will to be accomplished for someone we’ve never met.

God’s will isn’t about us. It’s about Him. It’s about His plan of redemption. And, in order to save us, God shifted humanity for His son to be born in a stable and his head laid in a manger.

It makes no sense. And, yet, that was God’s plan, so we could receive His promise.

The next time the course of my life makes no sense, and I don’t understand “why” or “how” or “what in the world”, I want to remember this event in history.

The course of my life is not my own. I want God to move me so that His Son is center stage and hearts are drawn to the Savior.

When the time comes, I want to be right where God intends, no matter what He needs to uproot.