The blog home of speaker and writer Mindy von Atzigen

The blog home of speaker and writer Mindy von Atzigen I am a lover of words, Jesus, and His church. I am also a wife, a mom, and a friend. I hope you'll consider me yours...

Advent Devotional, Week Four

Author's Note:  This is last of a four part Advent devotional series for families here at Treasure the Ordinary.  May you be blessed as each of you find ways to prepare your hearts for the celebration of our King's birth.  Merry Christmas!

Week 4 Advent Devotional - "Protection"

Opening Question: What trip have we taken as a family that you enjoyed that most

During our time together today, we are going to look a trip Jesus took with his parents when He was just a baby.  Mary and Joseph didn't have a car seat, or even a car, but they packed up their tiny baby and traveled over 300 miles for a very important reason.

READ:  Matthew 2:1-12
“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 when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” 

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene."

[NOTE:  for very young children who may not be ready for a discussion about Herod's killing of children, parents may wish to not read the bold print aloud.]

Herod wanted to kill Jesus because he was afraid of another king taking his place.  He didn't realize that Jesus was not coming to sit on the throne in Jerusalem, but to save us from sin.  So, he wanted attack Jesus because he did not understand who Jesus was and what he was doing.  Herod did not feel secure and safe as a king, so he was jealous of anyone else who might be a better king than he was.

A lot of times when people hurt us our hurt our feelings, it's because they don't feel good about themselves. 

ASK:  [younger children]  When someone hurts our feelings, how can we pray for them?  (that they would understand they are important to God.)

ASK:  [older children] Have you ever hurt someone or hurt their feelings because you didn't feel good about YOU?  How can you make sure this does not become a pattern in your life?

God protected Jesus from Herod by sending Him to Egypt.  This was the very place God's people had been slaves hundreds of years before, until God called Moses to lead them out! 

ASK:  Why do you think God would send Jesus THERE?  (Younger children should be helped to arrive at the conclusion that no one would think to look for Him there, but older children can be helped to find the deeper truth that God was making a statement that Jesus had come to lead us all out of the slavery of sin.)

If God had not protected His son as a baby, Jesus would not have been able to die for us on the cross.  God could see the whole, big picture, and He knew just what to do.  When God protected Jesus, He protected US, too!

Closing Question:  What things does God want YOU to do in the future?  How is He protecting you even now so that you can do those things?