Journey to the Manger: Wise Men and Herod

Jackson works on his Journey to the Manger color by number of the Wise Men.

Jackson works on his Journey to the Manger color by number of the Wise Men.

Today, we went with the Wise Men to talk with King Herod on our Journey to the Manger.

When the Wise Men arrived in Judea, they went to the epicenter of the Jewish religion: Jerusalem. There they had an encounter with King Herod, who apparently did not know the King of the Jews had been born, and was not excited about the news. Herod inquired of the Jewish scribes, who told him Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah.

In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall become a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”

– Matthew 2:5-6

Wise Men talk with Herod

Wise Men talk with Herod

The Wise Men had followed the leading of God Almighty to make their trek across the desert to see the newborn King. The Star God had placed in the sky served as their compass. They trusted God’s divine guidance to bring them into the Son of God’s presence. So when King Herod tried to pull a fast one on them and trick them into giving over the child’s location to end the threat to his reign, the Wise Men trusted God again. Warned in a dream given by God, the Wise Men returned home another way. The Magi proved they truly were wise by following God’s word above human authority.

Wisdom was desperately needed in the time Jesus entered as a baby, and in our day, too. Wisdom can only be found in God, in listening for His voice and following His command. The Wise Men understood that a God who could shape and create the stars deserved their attention and worship. God is worthy of our trust and our obedience.

 

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.

Giving gifts to Jesus

Jackson and Lauren hold their cinnamon ornaments just before baking.

Jackson and Lauren hold their cinnamon ornaments just before baking.

Christmas Countdown Day 22 and 23 focused on the wisemen and gifts. Wisemen traveled a great distance, following only a star, and the hope that they would be able to worship the King of Kings. Faith carried them across the rugged terrain, and their determination held steady. They brought with them three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each gift was a treasure, and useful to the Lord they were coming to meet. These gifts showcased Jesus as king, priest and ultimate sacrifice to save the world. We made wisemen ornaments to help us remember their faith in the star to guide them to Christ. Then, we created very special ornaments to remind us of the sweet smells of the spices given to Jesus by the wisemen. We mixed one cup of cinnamon with one cup applesauce, rolled it out, and used cookie cutters to make stars, angels, hearts, camels and other shapes. (Bake at 200 degrees for about two hours.) We breathed in deeply to smell the sweet fragrance of the ornaments. The aroma invaded the entire house as they baked! That’s how God’s grace works, too. It transforms and overtakes every part of who we are. More than anything, God wants us to offer ourselves to Him as our gift this Christmas. We are worth more to Jesus than any treasure. And, God’s sweet grace is worth giving everything up for.

Wisemen ornament

Wisemen ornament