Last year, I spent some time studying the journey of the Magi, and just like my recent post on Joseph (a must read on his perspective if you missed it…if you only read one blog entry from me this year read that one)–and just like Joseph, their story is miraculous but often overlooked. Also last year, I read an amazing book on Christ-centered homemaking No Ordinary Home by Carol Brazo. (By the way, this book is out of print and I’ve emailed back and forth with Carol about getting it reprinted…I think it should be stay-at-home mom required reading:). In Brazo’s book, she shares some of her family’s traditions…some that we also have adopted–the Jesse Tree, the Lent Tree…and this year we will put a twist on her Journey with the Magi. For her family’s Magi journey, leading up to Christmas she pulls out 3 wisemen that she and some of her girlfriends handcrafted with paper mache. They dreamed up their decor and the Magi move a little each day toward the nativity—and like today’s “Elf on the Shelf” with little connection to the true meaning of Christmas (I’m guilty! My kids love it too!!! But I want to always emphasize truth over anything else…and this is another sweet way to do just that.) Brazo accounts in her book how her children would run down stairs each morning to see where the Magi were and how far they had come from their last resting place. If you don’t want to do what we are doing–Brazo’s tradition is pretty sweet and something I wish I had heard about years ago.
In our craziness, I didn’t want to forget there is something to be learned with the magi’s journey to Christ. Yet, because their journey began after the birth of Christ–I decided ours too would begin on Christmas night–just after we celebrated the birth of Christ in our home. (I’ll share more pictures later of Jesus’s birthday with our children later in the week—it was full of balloons, streamers, a cake…and excited little ones to sing and blow out candles!)
Matthew 2:1-2 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
For the next 2 weeks (ironically falling the weekend Ethiopia will be celebrating Christmas), our family devotionals will be centered around the wisemen and their journey to Jesus. We will explore with our little ones the Journey of the Magi–where they were from, who they were, the star they followed…we will dream about what their journey must have been like together…and twists and turns they had to take to help protect Jesus from King Herod. We began tonight with Matthew’s account of their story in Matthew 2, and sweet little Laney informed us all that she does not like King Herod one little bit even before we began:).
Throughout the day–like the wisemen…we will look for Jesus. We will look for His majesty in creation. We will look for him in kindness and acts of love in others. And we will even look for Him in ourselves. (Another Laney quote from today, “I will find Him every day all over my heart momma.” So sweet.) Each night for the next 2 weeks, we will learn something new about the wisemen and their journey, and we will end by sharing ways we saw Jesus that day. I am hopeful this will help foster the habit of looking for Him throughout the new year–and what a GREAT way to start the new year with our children!!!
Of course introducing to your children “how you look for Jesus in others” will be different depending on their ages. Because all of our children are 6 years and under–I used this book to help them see how they can see Jesus in others and be the hands of Jesus to others…This sweet little book is about what it would be like if Jesus was one of their friends and came to their house–what they might do–and later in the book the little boy realizes that he can do little and big things that Jesus would probably do for others and show others Jesus by his actions. This was perfect for my kids ages–and they are excited to look for Him. (They were ready to tell a way they had already seen His love today even!)
After we learn something about the wisemen and their journey to see Jesus, each little one will have a chance to write down a way they saw Jesus that day. We will put our “Jesus sightings” in this treasure box (similar to what we are imagining the wisemen to carry)…and at the end of our journey we’ll share them all and rejoice in all the ways we have see Him during our journey Then, we will take turns moving the wisemen to a new place chosen in our home to remind us when we see them of their journey and our purpose here…to always look to Him and for Him.
I remember being amazed when I studied the wisemen on my own last year–so I’m excited to do it again and share this with my children. We can pretty confidently guess their journey was between 1-2 years–so each of our days will represent a MONTH. Can you imagine traveling that LONG to deliver gifts…all by following a STAR…and going to see in faith a baby that you have been told is the Son of God?! Their journey is amazing—it is full of faith, wonder–and even adventure as they are tricked by King Herod yet because they have learned to listen to God they are redirected and Jesus’s life is saved. They are redirected in the end a more difficult route—but for His sake it would be worth it.
I started to paper mache wisemen like Brazo…but this momma realized this isn’t the year and we’ll be using our own wisemen. We’ll save that for when the kids are older and can really be a part of dreaming what they looked like and we can make them together in their splendor. I’ll share some things we are learning…and please feel free to join us in your own journeys. And please do share any insights you gain along the way!!!
Last but not least–it has been an AMAZING Christmas with our little ones. I have held back tears (and cracked just a few times) as I watch Isaac Temesgen and think of our journey to him and how far he has come. At the Christmas Eve service, I got stopped several times and someone would say, “This is his FIRST Christmas with you all, isn’t it?!” I wasn’t able to say yes without my voice cracking one time. Three people asked me, “What does it feel like to have him home this Christmas??” And I just shook my head all three times smiling…and tried to answer but couldn’t!!! I was holding him in my harms singing Hark the Harold Angels Sing and every time I sang the words “Joyful all ye nations rise” I thought about our son’s birth family and their hardship…and the state my son would be in right now had he not come into our arms…I thought about how God rescues and saves…how He loves and forgives…how His story for our lives is SO MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL than the story we could write for ourselves! I have been overwhelmed! And that is a very good place to be!!!
As if things couldn’t be any sweeter. I think the last time it snowed here in the South ON Christmas day was in 1985…25 years ago!!! Could Isaac Temesgen’s first Christmas with us been any more perfect?!
And he is getting SO STRONG!!! Here is ONE last Christmas gift for you all!!! CHECK THIS OUT…OKAY…sooooo…I had to take a million pictures to get THAT…but he CAN stand by himself for like 2 seconds if you distract him!!! My heart has been praying he would walk by January 15th–because this was the date of the first picture we have of him and he has come SO FAR since then. I don’t think we’ll make that date…but you never know!!! YOU KNOW this baby is FULL of surprises!!!!And can I just say this…is he NOT the cutest thing?!?!
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!! May your journey with the Magi officially begin as you now go and look for the King in your everyday lives.