Journey to the Manger: Isaiah

Lauren and Jackson made scrolls depicting the prophecy God gave to Isaiah.

Lauren and Jackson made scrolls depicting the prophecy God gave to Isaiah.

Today’s Journey to the Manger introduced us to Isaiah the prophet.

Isaiah the prophet

Isaiah the prophet

Isaiah lived during dark times. His people, the Israelites, were oppressed and frightened. Some even felt like God had abandoned them. As a family, we could relate to being scared and facing our fears. We split up into two teams and drew pictures of things that made us feel afraid. Snakes, the dark, bats, mice, spiders, water and skeletons made our lists.

God knows our fears, and He knew what the Israelites faced during Isaiah’s days. God chose to speak words of hope and redemption to Isaiah to share with those who had given up. God revealed His plan to come to Earth to personally rescue them from their sin.

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel, God With Us.

– Isaiah 7:14

God is with us! We don’t have to be afraid. God loved us so much that He came here to save us. Tonight, we wadded up our fear drawings and threw them in the trash, because our God is bigger than our fear. We can trust in His love and His plan.

After discussing the fears we drew, the kids had a ball scrunching up their papers and then throwing them in the trash. We don't have to be scared. God can help!

After discussing the fears we drew, the kids had a ball crunching up their papers and then throwing them in the trash. We don’t have to be scared. God can help!

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.

Christmas Countdown Day 3: Kool-aid under the fridge

Day 3 of our Christmas Countdown

Day 3 of our Christmas Countdown

The advent passage for Day 3 is Isaiah 40:9-11.

Zion, herald of good news,
go up on a high mountain.
Jerusalem, herald of good news,
raise your voice loudly.
Raise it, do not be afraid!
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Lord God comes with strength,
and His power establishes His rule.
His reward is with Him,
and His gifts accompany Him.
He protects His flock like a shepherd;
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries [them] in the fold of His [garment].
He gently leads those that are nursing.

I heard the refrigerator open behind me as I sat at the kitchen table. Suddenly, Matt yelled, “Lauren, no, no, no!”  And, that was the turning point of our day. Kool-aid streamed all over the floor and underneath the refrigerator, as well as soaking the drawers inside.

It took us much longer to get around to our Christmas Countdown time than planned. Instead, our frustration levels were high, whining pitches were even higher, and we experienced a bit of a revolt when we pulled out the Bible to explore our Scripture passage.

It’s these kind of imperfect parenting days that God as my shepherd means so much. The way Isaiah describes God tenderly cradling a lamb in His strong, safe arms and gently guiding His sheep is beautifully convicting.

Our Family Game Night ended up being a success despite all our shortcomings. Not a single board game was played by the rules, but it didn’t matter. And, hide and go seek was particularly fun!

Matt and the kids fill up the Connect Four slots in different patterns

Matt and the kids fill up the Connect Four slots in different patterns

On this third day of December, I am so thankful that God redeems our messes. That’s why He sent Jesus. Whether a Kool-aid spill or bad attitude, God is there to gently guide us through the clean up process.