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: Wise Men and Gifts

The kids consider what they can give to Jesus this Christmas.

The kids consider what they can give to Jesus this Christmas.

We worshiped the King with the Wise Men today on our Journey to the Manger.

Wise Men Give Gifts

Wise Men Give Gifts

The Wise Men came to worship and honor the King God revealed to them in the stars. Before they set out to travel, they chose several gifts of significance, worthy of royalty. When they finally reached the humble place the child lived, the men from the east still fell to their knees in reverence and respect. They were in the presence of God Himself.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

– Matthew 2:10-11

So much of our focus at Christmastime is on the presents. We stress over getting everyone the perfect gift, and then paying for it all. Children write up their Christmas lists, as if getting everything on them means it’s been a great holiday. The malls are packed, traffic is snarled, and we are exhausted.

The tradition of gift-giving that Christians draw from the example of the wise men is all about the worship and adoration of the Savior. Yet, we have made the heart of Christmas about us instead of Jesus.

Today, the kids and I spent time considering what we could give to Jesus. Inside a wrapped gift were objects that represented ways we could worship Jesus. For instance, a musical instrument symbolized worshiping God in song, and we sang “Jesus Loves Me” as a gift to God. A bedtime toy reminded us we could honor God by giving Him our dreams and future. Monopoly money showed we could give God our change to be used in ministry. We looked at the hands and feet of a doll to brainstorm how we could use our feet to go and hands to serve and help others. We read a book together because growing in our knowledge of God shows how much we value our relationship with Him.

God gave us what we could never deserve in 10,000 lifetimes: His One and Only Son. God’s love is immeasurable and His grace unsurpassed. Jesus is altogether worthy of our absolute worship and praise.

What can we personally give to honor Jesus this Christmas?

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.