Character: The Manger
Character Trait: Hospitality
Life Lesson: Serve others
Morning prayer for our kids: God, humble my children. May they in humility count others more significant than themselves.
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
Why is the manger important to the Christmas story?
Remember, Joseph and Mary returned to Bethlehem for the census. The custom practice for ancestors returning to the “city of David” was to show hospitality, especially for a woman who was pregnant. Though we’re normally taught that Joseph and Mary were turned away, the word “inn” in the Bible actually means “guest room.” There was no space in the guest room because so many people had come back for the census.
So in hospitality, Mary and Joseph were put outside, under the “guest room,” or main living area. This is where the animals were kept warm. While Mary stayed here, she gave birth to baby Jesus. Mary wrapped him in cloths and laid Jesus in a manger. The manger, or feeding trough, was what the animals ate their hay out of. The manger is like our heart, a place we prepare for Jesus. When Jesus takes over our heart, we humbly serve others in hospitality.
Activity for our kids: Go serve someone this week. Sing carols at a nursing home. Invite a widow over for dinner. Serve at a homeless shelter. Take gifts to a single mom for her kids. Have your children use their money. No matter what you do, make sure your kids invest in the activity and that it costs them something. Perhaps they give away some of their own toys to kids in need.
Use this activity to help them understand the humility of the manger. Jesus was laid in the place of animal’s food. He became the food we all need. As a family, go out this week and feed those who are physically, emotionally, and spiritually hungry.
Bedtime question for our kids: Is there someone you’re concerned about this Christmas? A friend at school? Someone you know at church? What is something you can do for them?
Comment below and tell us your stories from the Advent Experience. We love journeying with you.