Journey to the Manger: Mary

Lauren and Jackson at our church's candelight Christmas Eve service

Lauren and Jackson at our church’s candlelight Christmas Eve service

On Christmas Eve, we pondered with Mary on our Journey to the Manger.

Mary was there for it all. The Angel Gabriel appeared to her to announce the Messiah was coming, and she would be His mom. She believed and trusted Her Heavenly Father, and went to visit her cousin Elizabeth to see God’s miraculous power first-hand. She spent three months with Zechariah and Elizabeth, and may have even seen the birth of John the Baptist. Mary traveled with her betrothed husband Joseph to Bethlehem to be counted in the census declared by Caesar Augustus. When they arrived, no one would give them room, and the two ended up in a stable when Mary went into labor. She gave birth to a son, wrapped him in strips of cloths and laid him in the manger. When the shepherds arrived later and bowed low before her newborn baby, they must have told amazing stories of an angel proclaiming the Messiah’s birth and heavenly hosts filling the night’s sky. Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple, and while there to fulfill the law concerning their son, they met Simeon and Anna who prophesied about Jesus. Later, wise men came and worshiped Jesus, laying expensive gifts before Him, telling them of the star that guided them from so far away. Joseph then helped Mary and Jesus quickly escape Jerusalem when God came to him in a dream revealing Herod‘s evil plans. Mary and Joseph eventually made their way back to Nazareth, where they raised their son.

Mary

Mary

Mary experienced these moments and so many more as she watched her precious Son grow, in favor with God and man. She was there when Jesus performed his first miracle, turning water to wine. She watched and heard about His travels from town to town proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven was here. She marveled as her Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, fed thousands, even raised the dead.

And, Mary stood at the foot of the cross, where her child hung by nails pierced through His hands and feet.

Mary was there at the beginning and at the end.

The night Jesus was born, Scripture tells us that Mary treasured every moment. She stored every tear, every kiss, every snuggle, deep within her heart. She wondered and worshiped as she listened to the shepherds and watched them praise God for her perfect little boy.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

– Luke 2:19

Jesus is our treasure. He longs to reign in our hearts, for us to ponder His love and abundant grace.

Tonight, our family pondered Jesus’s story and treasured it up in our hearts at our church’s candlelight Christmas Eve service. We watched candles being lit as Scripture was read, and sang carols praising God for His great gift of love. When we returned home, we spent time together talking about what a wonderful month we’ve had approaching the manger and focusing on Jesus, the greatest gift of all.

I can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas Eve than treasuring the Savior we will celebrate tomorrow!

Journey to the Manger: Angel

Lauren and I dressed up as angels

Lauren and I dressed up as angels

We heard good news from an angel today on our Journey to the Manger!

Angel

Angel

All was quiet across the countryside. Lights flickering from the fire had long since dimmed, and the shepherds watched over their flocks resting after a long day. It was a night just like every other night.

And then, an angel of the Lord appeared. The darkness disappeared as the glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds and their sheep. They were stunned, shaken from sleep, and terrified.

God had chosen one angel to step forward in the fields to rouse the shepherds and make the most amazing baby announcement in all history.

Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

– Luke 2:10-12

Today we dressed up as angels to proclaim good news of great joy! We donned tinsel halos, white T-shirts and yellow tie belts for costumes, and gave each other “thumbs up” to share our good news.

God is looking for people willing to introduce others to the Savior of the world, to announce that Jesus is here and waiting to meet them. Who can we share this Good News with this Christmas?

Angel Lauren gives two thumbs-up to share her good news!

Angel Lauren gives two thumbs-up to share her good news!

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.