Jesus wasn’t born in a hospital like many babies today. It could have been a stable, cave or even outside. What we DO know is that He was born around animals. To imagine what it might have been like, build a fort somewhere in your house. Invite your stuffed animals and pets to come inside.
In your fort, surrounded by animals, read Luke 2:1-20 together. Talk about why God sent baby Jesus to be born in a manger: an open box in which food for farm animals is placed (Oh, and remind your family that the place Jesus was born wasn’t nearly as cool as your fort.)
Jesus Is Born
“In those days, Caesar Augustus made a law. It required that a list be made of everyone in the whole Roman world. It was the first time a list was made of the people while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be listed.
So Joseph went also. He went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea. That is where Bethlehem, the town of David, was. Joseph went there because he belonged to the family line of David. He went there with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby.
While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born. She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. There was no room for them in the inn.
Angels Appear to the Shepherds
There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were looking after their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. Here is how you will know I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven also appeared. They were praising God. They said, “May glory be given to God in the highest heaven! And may peace be given to those he is pleased with on earth!”
The angels left and went into heaven. Then the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. The baby was lying in the manger. After the shepherds had seen him, they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over.
The shepherds returned. They gave glory and praise to God. Everything they had seen and heard was just as they had been told.” Luke 2:1-20
Party on in the fort by listening to the Storyteller’s Christmas Rap!! Don’t skip this one!!!
In Luke 1:50-55, Mary shares really GOOD things about God.
“God shows his mercy to those who have respect for him, from parent to child down through the years. He has done mighty things with his arm. He has scattered those who are proud in their deepest thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones. But he has lifted up people who are not important.
He has filled those who are hungry with good things.But he has sent those who are rich away empty. He has helped the people of Israel, who serve him. He has always remembered to be kind to Abraham and his children down through the years. He has done it just as he said to our people of long ago.” Isaiah 1:50-55
Just ONE of those things is that God provides food to fill up people who are hungry…and sometimes He uses us to help provide a special gift that someone else needs! Like buying a toy for a child in need.
Purchase a child’s toy to support MRO’s 2020 “Mission Christmas”event on December 8. Here are the details:
You can simply drop off your gift, stop by grab some dessert, hot chocolate or hot apple cider. Id you’d like to hang out for a while and wrap your present, we’d love to have you.
Maybe your family will be supporting someone through another opportunity- that so great too. Do something this Christmas to give back. You will be the one who is blessed!!
We’d love so see how God is leading your heart this year. Take a photo and share it so we can see how YOU chose to give back this Christmas.
Sometimes, God’s people worried that God would forget to send the king, like in Isaiah 7:10-14. Yet God said there would be clear signs when the king arrived, so that nobody would miss it!
“The Lord spoke to Ahaz through me again. He said, “I am the Lord your God. Ask me to give you a miraculous sign. It can be anything in the deepest grave or in the highest heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I won’t ask. I won’t put the Lord to the test.” Then I said, “Listen, you members of the royal family of Ahaz! Isn’t it enough for you to test the patience of men? Are you also going to test the patience of my God? The Lord himself will give you a miraculous sign. The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel. Isaiah 7:10-14
Today, you can make your own sign to show that Christmas is all about Jesus’ birth. Even though this isn’t the same kind of sign as the ones God sent, it’s a reminder that God sent his family a king. Use whatever you have around the house to make a sign of your own announcing Jesus is here. Then hang it up somewhere (don’t forget to share with us a photo of your sign) for everyone to see.
Sign up for daily emails in order to not miss a day!!!
Check out the whole story here. Prepare your heart for the Christmas message all throughout this month.
NASCAR Ladies: Looking for a safe way to connect and do something wonderful this Christmas for children in the greater Charlotte communities? Join us on December 8 for a night of fun and good will. #MROMissionChristmas
“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11
When you are thankful, you worship Me acceptably—with reverence and awe. Thanksgiving is not just a holiday celebration once a year. It’s an attitude of the heart that produces Joy; it is also a biblical command. You cannot worship Me acceptably with an ungrateful heart. You may go through the motions, but your ingratitude will hold you back.
Whenever you’re struggling spiritually or emotionally, pause and check your “thankfulness gauge.” If the reading is low, ask Me to help you increase your level of gratefulness. Search for reasons to thank Me; jot them down if you like. Your perspective will gradually shift from focusing on all that is wrong to rejoicing in things that are right.
No matter what is happening, you can be joyful in God your Savior. Because of My finished work on the cross, you have a glorious future that is guaranteed forever! Rejoice in this free gift of salvation—for you, for all who trust Me as Savior. Let your heart overflow with thankfulness, and I will fill you with My Joy.
Finding joy in every moment today after recalling a time when God would teach me so much about living out my salvation with great joy in my heart.
Every morning my sweet little military man goes through his “get ready” morning routine. He has always worn a pair of bedroom slippers. Through the years I have grown fond of hearing him shuffle around the house. But that has not always been the case because once he takes those slippers off for the day, he puts them in the same place AND might I add, right in the path I need to walk as I get up to get ready. This morning, I tripped over those slippers just as I do most every morning unless I am up before him. 30 plus years ago this very little thing grew into a huge argument. Of course he thought is was NO BIG Deal. Truth is -it was not and still is not that big of a deal but all I asked was could he please find a better place to put them. And that my friend did not go well. Okay, so maybe I did not say it as kindly as what I just wrote. 🤪 He did his best to oblige and really tried but eventually they were right back where his daily routine ended. Slippers by the dresser, he’d sit on the edge of the bed, put his work shoes on, check himself in the mirror and off into the day he would go.
Today I laughed so hard I cried. Ever gotten caught up in staying aggravated about something that really does not matter? I remember the day God set me free from wasting time on trivial things- well at least regarding those slippers. I confess I am a still a work in progress after all of these years.
It was around Thanksgiving time AND the day of the “intense” conversation about the slippers. I was packing for my family to go home to NC to visit family when I received a phone call from a church friend. She asked if we could be accountability partners as she prepared to lead an upcoming women’s conference at our church. She was struggling with the team around her complaining and being snarky about everything. She had just had a hard conversation with someone on the team. She said, “I feel like I keep getting tripped up on an old pair of shoes and it is time to move them out of the way.” I want to be grateful but the old way of doing things just takes my joy away.”
I busted out laughing and felt such deep pangs of conviction at the same time. Lord forgive me. I had to share with her authentically that Monty and I had argued over a pair of bedroom slippers that very morning. Isn’t it interesting how God brings hearts together who need each other? In that moment I realized, the shoes were NOT the problem. I was the one with the problem. And perhaps, that “old pair of shoes” she was speaking about was not the problem either. We agreed in that moment to look for ways to thank God and to empower change rather than throw out a perfectly good old shoes. Maybe we could both shift our perspective from focusing on all that is wrong to rejoicing in the things that are right.
I encouraged my friend to make things right by embracing the wisdom the “old shoes” brought to the process instead of so easily tossing them. We would pray for an awakening to the scripture, for fresh eyes for this incredible event and for God’s Grace to see beyond the temporal and set our perspective the way God sees it.
A shift. New perspective. New focus. Rejoicing
The event ending up bringing so much honor to the Lord but more than anything we learned that perspective is everything. When we focused on the Lord instead of what was wrong it led us to what was most important, good, worthy and joy-filling. Needless to say God breathed in us new perspectives and rejoicing in all that is right.
I would apologize to Monty later that night. Don’t get me wrong, I still get tripped up on where he chooses to put them but I have learned to give thanks instead. It fills my heart and comforts me in knowing that if the Lord wills this beautiful man will come in the door tonight and shuffle around until the days end. I am blessed to be his helpmate and give thanks for the incredible husband, father, grandfather, friend to many and best friend to me that he is.
Point of confession, my joy is made complete on the cold days when I eye his slippers not two feet from me. I quietly slip them on and putter around the house secure in keeping them for him to come home to.
My heart is overflowing with thankfulness and joy my friend! This has been a very sacred place to me over the last ten days. I am genuinely going to miss our time together. Thank you to every heart that has taken the time to pause here. I pray this practice of faith in the midst of real life has led you to see with eyes that look for gratitude, ears that lean in close to hear to what God is speaking to you and faith to know that no matter the struggle God loves you and will use all things for good for those who are called according to His purpose. I promise you that no matter how hard things are God has a treasured ending that will be YOUR story to tell just as I have shared a few of mine.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.—Hebrews 12:28
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.—Psalm 100:4 nkjv
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.—1 Corinthians 13:6
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.—Habakkuk 3:17–18
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17