Journey to the Manger: Sheep

Jackson pretends to be a sheep. listening carefully to his shepherd (dad) for direction.

Jackson pretends to be a sheep. listening carefully to his shepherd (dad) for direction.

Today we visited a flock of sheep on our Journey to the Manger.

There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were taking care of their sheep.

– Luke 2:8

Sheep

Sheep

Sheep need personal care, even in the middle of the night. This particular night, shepherds were watching over their flocks, keeping them safe from any danger lurking nearby, allowing their animals to rest peacefully. Sheep thrive under the attention of a good shepherd who will lead them to green pastures and still waters, who will tend their wounds and bring them back to the fold if they wander off.

God refers to people as sheep throughout Scripture. We are in desperate need of shepherding, protection and care. That’s why God sent His Son.

I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep…My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.

– John 10:14-15, 27-28

Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He knows us, even the parts we wish we could hide. He loves us, and makes Himself known to us. Jesus loved us so much, that He laid down His life to rescue us.

Sheep know their shepherd’s voice, and follow him. Today we pretended we were sheep following our shepherd’s voice. Jackson put on a blindfold, got down on his hands and knees, and listened carefully to his dad’s instructions to make it around the living room. At first, Jackson was very nervous about putting on the blindfold and trying this activity. We had to reassure and remind him that he can trust his daddy to keep him safe, that Matt would not steer him wrong. That encouragement was what he needed to put on the blindfold.

Listen for the Savior this Christmas. Trust in His care and direction. We, as sheep, are secure when we follow our Shepherd.

 

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.

Snug and safe

Jesus was wrapped in cloth, so we did the same to see how it felt.

Jesus was wrapped in cloth, so we did the same to see how it felt.

Christmas Countdown Day 16 focused on cloth. When Jesus was born, Mary wrapped Him in strips of cloth and lay Him in a manger. Newborn babies often love to be swaddled and wrapped tightly in a blanket so they feel warm and secure. They want to be snuggled and held close. Mary lovingly swaddled her precious baby boy, kissed his sweet cheek, and lay him gently in the manger hay, because there was no room for them that night in the inn. God holds us that way, too. We often need to feel His love wrapped around us tightly, to know we are safe. God surrounds us with his blankets of forgiveness and grace, telling us that it will be okay and we can rest in Him. As we thought about the strips of cloth that were placed around baby Jesus, Lauren and Jackson practiced swaddling baby dolls to see how Mary might have done it. Then, to really put ourselves in the story, Matt swaddled each kid in a big blanket, so they could see what it felt like. Then we scooped them up and sang “Jesus loves me” while rocking them.

Our ornament today

Our ornament today