Journey to the Manger: Zechariah the prophet

Lauren pats down wet toilet paper to cover a bowl. Though the project wasn't finished today (on purpose!), the kids did get to splash quite a bit of water around.

Lauren intently works on her art project

On our Journey to the Manger today, we became friends with Zechariah the prophet.

God used Zechariah to call for repentance, as well as encourage the people of Israel. God reinforced His promises of hope and salvation through Zechariah, reminding the Hebrews that the Messiah was coming to rule as King. Even though they were facing difficult circumstances, the people knew that one day the Savior would arrive!

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

– Zechariah 9:9

Zechariah the prophet

Zechariah the prophet

Zechariah didn’t know the time frame of the Messiah’s appearance, he just knew God’s Son would come. Zechariah took God at His Word, and believed. God’s salvation and the Righteous Redeemer was worth the wait. The Israelites would need to cling to these promises for hundreds of years until God was made flesh and dwelt among them.

Today we began an art project that gave us an inkling of the patience Zechariah and many others exercised waiting on God to send the Savior. We wrapped toilet paper over a bowl and wet it down again and again until a thick covering formed. Then we set it aside. We tried to figure out how long it might take for it to completely dry, with guesses ranging from a few hours to a day (in kid terms: forever). This project will be the skirt for an angel we will make when we meet the Heavenly Host in the night sky on our Journey to the Manger. We counted 15 days until we can finish what we started. Though both kids were a little disappointed we couldn’t complete it today, they accepted that there was a good reason we had to wait.

God’s promises are sure. We can count on God to do what He says He will do. Even so, we struggle in the waiting. We want God to answer our prayers or come through for us on our time-table. In other words, God needs to show up right now! Our Heavenly Father wants more for us. He knows how much our hearts are shaped for holiness “in the meantime.”

God will follow through. He always finishes what He begins.


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.

Up from the grave

The best part of my Easter Sunday was rolling my kids in toilet paper.

Tonight we went round and round, draping the paper to create grave clothes. We imagined it was like Jesus in the tomb. Then, the kids burst forth, just as Jesus did early on the third day as He defeated death and the grave.


Then, they proceeded to tear up the paper, throw it in the air and dance with delight.


Jackson rolling in toilet paper

This has been an amazing, memorable week. As a family, we have focused on Jesus’ love, sacrifice and victory through daily activities. For instance, Saturday we made resurrection cookies, put them in the oven and sealed it tight with tape. Then this morning we cut the tape and tried the cookies, which were hollow inside.


This morning, Jackson and Lauren unsealed the oven (tomb) to find the resurrection cookies

God has been close to us as we’ve drawn near to Him. We have truly felt our risen Savior’s love and presence!