Journey to the Manger: Wise Men and Gifts

The kids consider what they can give to Jesus this Christmas.

The kids consider what they can give to Jesus this Christmas.

We worshiped the King with the Wise Men today on our Journey to the Manger.

Wise Men Give Gifts

Wise Men Give Gifts

The Wise Men came to worship and honor the King God revealed to them in the stars. Before they set out to travel, they chose several gifts of significance, worthy of royalty. When they finally reached the humble place the child lived, the men from the east still fell to their knees in reverence and respect. They were in the presence of God Himself.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

– Matthew 2:10-11

So much of our focus at Christmastime is on the presents. We stress over getting everyone the perfect gift, and then paying for it all. Children write up their Christmas lists, as if getting everything on them means it’s been a great holiday. The malls are packed, traffic is snarled, and we are exhausted.

The tradition of gift-giving that Christians draw from the example of the wise men is all about the worship and adoration of the Savior. Yet, we have made the heart of Christmas about us instead of Jesus.

Today, the kids and I spent time considering what we could give to Jesus. Inside a wrapped gift were objects that represented ways we could worship Jesus. For instance, a musical instrument symbolized worshiping God in song, and we sang “Jesus Loves Me” as a gift to God. A bedtime toy reminded us we could honor God by giving Him our dreams and future. Monopoly money showed we could give God our change to be used in ministry. We looked at the hands and feet of a doll to brainstorm how we could use our feet to go and hands to serve and help others. We read a book together because growing in our knowledge of God shows how much we value our relationship with Him.

God gave us what we could never deserve in 10,000 lifetimes: His One and Only Son. God’s love is immeasurable and His grace unsurpassed. Jesus is altogether worthy of our absolute worship and praise.

What can we personally give to honor Jesus this Christmas?

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.

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.