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.

Thankful: God came to serve

Whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life–a ransom for many.

– Mark 10:44

Today, I am thankful that God did not send His Son into the world to be served, but to serve.

Jesus showed us what it means to serve, to freely display love through action. The night before He would carry the cross through Jerusalem’s streets, Jesus took on the form of a slave to preview the extent He was willing to go to redeem mankind.

Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel and tied it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.

– John 13:3-5

Jesus humbled Himself to show His disciples, and us, that love means serving. It requires us to set aside our wants and desires to meet the needs of others. God knew our desperate state. He understood that our lives needed to be cleaned, and we could only be made right with God by His Son making the way through sacrifice. Jesus did not come to demand our worship and praise, though that is what He deserved as the Lord of Lords. He came to serve and give His life as a ransom, to purchase our freedom from sin.

So even with all the power and rightful authority He possessed, Jesus wrapped a towel around His waist and began, one by one, to wash His disciple’s feet during their last Passover together. With the cross before Him, Jesus spent some of His last treasured moments with His friends knelt down before them, removing their sandals and wiping off the dirt.

God’s example to us in the Upper Room is also our challenge.

You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.

– John 13:14-15