Christmas Crunch

Our sheep ornament

Our sheep ornament

Christmas Countdown Day 17 focused on sheep. The shepherds were out in the fields nearby Bethlehem doing their job the night Jesus was born. They were watching over, protecting and caring for their sheep.

For the next several days, our family is wading through what I like to call the “Christmas Crunch.” Our schedule is action-packed and often double-booked from when the alarm goes off until we fall into bed at night. With school events, Christmas parties, ministry opportunities, family visiting, and more, getting everyone where they need to be with what they need becomes difficult. Day 17 was chock full of racing from one point to the next, and the kids were troopers! So, when we began our Christmas Countdown before bed, we were all exhausted.

The shepherds out “watching over their flocks by night” brought peace to my frazzled heart as we sat down to read God’s Word before the day was through. The shepherds were out, doing what needed to be done and upholding the responsibility that had been entrusted to them. They were probably worn out, like we were. It was late at night, and they were still keeping watch after a long day. That’s when Heaven opened up. The angel appeared right where they were, and spoke peace and goodwill. God’s message to them that Hope had finally arrived in the darkness gave them new energy and focus, and they ran to Bethlehem to see their newborn Savior.

God meets us where we are, in the middle of the Christmas Crunch. Schedules may be back-logged and to-do lists piled up with the laundry, but God still breaks through to bring peace and joy. He tugs our hearts back to the manger, and our Savior, asleep in the hay. Jesus is there, waiting for us to drop our frustrations and disappointments and burdens at the door of the stable and simply come and worship. Our Good Shepherd will give us the strength we need to care for the sheep and responsibilities He has given us.

Christmas Countdown Day 10: Candy cane conversation

Reading the Bible together as a family

Reading the Bible together as a family

Our Advent Scripture passage for Day 10 is John 1:9-18.

The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not recognize Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John testified concerning Him and exclaimed, “This was the One of whom I said, ‘The One coming after me has surpassed me, because He existed before me.'”) Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son-the One who is at the Father’s side-He has revealed Him.

When I told the kids we were making candy canes tonight, I had to clarify we were making an art project, not sugary treats!

Candy cane creation

Candy cane creation

After we twisted together our red and white pipe cleaners, Matt talked to Jackson and Lauren about how candy canes can remind us about Jesus. He had taught the children about candy canes at AWANA this past Wednesday, so Jackson was quick to add to the conversation.

  • When a candy cane is turned around, it makes a letter J, reminding us of Jesus, the reason for Christmas.
  • Candy canes are shaped like a shepherd’s crook. Jesus is the Great Shepherd, who laid down His life for the sheep (us).
  • The red of the candy cane represents the blood Jesus shed on the cross.
  • The white tells that Jesus washes away our sins and makes us white as snow.
  • When you put two candy canes together, it forms a heart. God loved us so much, He sent Jesus.

After our talk, we took turns hiding and finding the candy canes all over the living room, and finally hung them on the Christmas tree.

Candy cane hanging on our Christmas tree

Candy cane hanging on our Christmas tree