Ask the question most frequently asked by young children: Why?
I remember telling my kids when they were very young, a simple explanation for why we celebrate Christmas:
It’s Jesus’ birthday.
Birthdays are easy for kids to understand. On your child’s birthday, do they enjoy hearing the story about the day they were born? (Or perhaps the day they were adopted?) It follows that on Jesus’ birthday we tell over and over, the account of his arrival.
We typically hear the story from Luke – a trek to Bethlehem, rooms at capacity, a babe born amongst beasts, topped off with sojourning, wonder-struck shepherds. It always amazes me: Jesus’ first bed was an animal feeding trough, and second-string sheep-tenders were Jesus’ inaugural guests. Everyone had been on the lookout for a majestic monarch, yet God slipped into our world as a defenseless little baby.
Why did the story happen this way?
What were God’s intentions? When we dig deeper, and read in Matthew, we reveal God’s purpose:
She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23)
Immanuel, means in Hebrew: “with us is God.” Ah! A glimpse at God’s motive.
Jesus was sent to be God with us!
Ready for some family discussion surrounding Immanuel / God-with-us?
Start off reading together Matthew 1:18-24.
A long time ago, God quietly came to earth via his son Jesus. Most people in those days didn’t recognize Jesus as their long-waited-for Savior. What about these days, do you suppose people recognize God-with-us today?
What are some ways that God makes his presence known to us?
What can make it hard to “see” God?
How can we help others to notice God with us?
Back in Bible times it seemed that God was more overt in his communication with people. For instance, in our current Rotation on Jesus’ birth story, there are lots of “angels of the Lord.” One named Gabriel, visited Mary, whereas Joseph had two angelic visits in his dreams. And the shepherds… they got a sky-full!
What evidence of God have you seen lately?
What about that bird perched just so, on the snow-covered branch…
To me nature-happenings are a sort of message from God. He says, “Slow down. Take notice. Isn’t what I’ve created intricate and amazing? I created you too. Oh, what a beautiful job I did! Do you see that little bird? The one perched outside your window? I care about him. I care about you!”
God is with us. In what ways will you look for his presence?
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