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.

Thankful: God is the good shepherd

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.

– John 10:14-15

Today, I am thankful that Jesus is the good shepherd.

Jesus knows me. I am His. And Jesus intends for me to know Him, like He knows the Father. As the good shepherd, Jesus cares for me, provides for my needs, helps me to rest and enjoy the beauty He created (makes me lay down in green pastures) and guides me toward peace (leads me beside the still waters). Jesus protects me and teaches me to walk by His side.

He is my shepherd. Sometimes He needs to comfort me with His rod and staff, but He never gives up on me. When I wander off, He comes and finds me, rescuing me from the pit I’m ensnared in.

He is with me always, through the day and through the night. He knows my flaws and weaknesses. He knows what causes me to stumble. Jesus notices when I cannot take another step, and then carries me on His shoulders, just as He carried the cross.

His arms stretched out to take on my sin, to endure the punishment I deserved. Love compelled Jesus to lay down His life, lifted up on the cross.

I am secure as one of Jesus’s sheep. He says that “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 10:27-28)

The Good Shepherd is so good to me.