Journey to the Manger: Angel Gabriel

Jackson tells the story of God's great love with the Nativity scene he made today. Most of his retelling was word-for-word from Scripture. This story has been imprinted on his heart!

Jackson tells the story of God’s great love with the Nativity scene he made today. Most of his retelling was word-for-word from Scripture. God has imprinted this story on his heart!

Today we listened to the Angel Gabriel’s message of joy on our Journey to the Manger.

Angel Gabriel

Angel Gabriel

God sent Gabriel with a message for Zechariah and for Mary. The Angel gave each a miraculous birth announcement. Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth would have a baby when she was past child-bearing years. Mary would be blessed with a supernatural conception, though she was a virgin, and carry the Son of God. These messages were incredible, humbling, extraordinary and overwhelming. Gabriel delivered each with boldness and grace.

Gabriel carried good news! Knowing that his arrival would startle both, he met the old priest and young girl with words of kindness—”Do not be afraid.” He offered encouragement and instruction. He extended hope. Read his messages in Luke Chapter 1.

Today, the kids and I made our own nativity sets (find the template here). We colored and cut and practiced sharing the amazing story of Jesus coming here to show us what love is. Then, we prayed for God to show us people who need to know God’s great love for them this Christmas.

We are God’s messengers, too! We can proclaim the Good News to our families, neighbors and friends. We can speak of Jesus, offering His kindness, encouragement and hope. We must listen to God’s voice, and be ready to proclaim God’s love and truth as the Holy Spirit leads.

The world needs God’s message of hope. Share it this Christmas!

The kids loved making their own nativities.

The kids loved making their own nativities.

 

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: 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.