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Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Joseph

Joseph the Carpenter had waited. He had waited to marry Mary. Although she was young, Joseph saw that Mary was good and kind and true, and he loved her. So he waited until she was older. They became engaged. And Joseph was very happy.
Then Joseph heard something that made him unhappy. Mary was going to have a baby, but the baby was not Joseph’s. Joseph was very sad. He knew this meant he could not marry Mary. He had waited for so long for no reason. Because he still loved Mary, though, he decided not to tell other people why he would not marry her. He did not want them to hurt her.

That night Joseph had a dream. He dreamt of a beautiful man, a man with hair like the sun, eyes like flames, and skin like snow, a man so amazingly beautiful that Joseph was scared. The man was an angel, a messenger of God.

The angel told Joseph that Mary was good and kind and true, even more than Joseph knew. So good and true was Mary that God Himself had come to her and given her the baby. The baby would grow up and do something wonderful for people. Something that God had long promised would happen. But in the meantime, Mary and the baby—whom, the angel said, should be named Jesus—would need someone to take care of them, and God knew that Joseph was the person to do this.
When Joseph woke up, he listened to what the angel had told him. He married Mary. A few months later, even though Mary was very pregnant, Joseph and Mary left Nazareth and traveled to the town of Bethlehem so that the government would count them as husband and wife.
Joseph was still not sure what was going on and he didn’t see any glory in it. But he knew he loved Mary and he loved God. And he had never really cared much about glory. So he waited.

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The donkey was sure he did not have to wait for his days of glory. He was in them. He worked for a carpenter named Joseph in a town called Nazareth. The donkey carried whatever Joseph told him to carry: sacks of cement, baskets of bricks, tall piles of wood. He worked very hard and was VERY busy. He worked and worked for work was all that mattered to the donkey. If he was not working, he was not happy.
The donkey became very mad and sad when Joseph took him away from his work. Joseph was going to a trip with his wife Mary. They would be traveling from Nazareth to a town called Bethlehem. It would take three days. Joseph would walk, but the donkey had to carry Mary.
The donkey did not consider this work. Work was building houses and carrying heavy loads. Mary was certainly not part of a house. She was not even very heavy. “My time is now,” thought the donkey, “and it is being wasted. I should be working, not carrying this nice, but not very heavy, woman. This is not work. How will Joseph know how important I am unless I am working?”
The donkey longed to return back to the glory of his work, but he was stuck carrying Mary. So he carried her and waited.

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In the stable, there lived an ox. He was the innkeeper’s ox. He had hauled the mud for the bricks of the inn. He had borne the water up from the well. He carried bundles and packages and pulled carts. He had been very busy. He was not so busy now, but he did the work asked of him and he had done very good work building the inn. So the innkeeper kept the ox, even though the ox was now somewhat old and slow.

The ox’s days of glory were past. But the ox waited.

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The Stable

In the beginning, there was a stable, a small stable with a palm tree in front that sat behind an inn on the edge of a town called Bethlehem. Bethlehem was a tiny town on the way to the big city of Jerusalem. Bethlehem had been the home of Israel’s mighty King David, but not many people came to visit it in these days. They passed Bethlehem by on the way to Jerusalem where they were going to see the beautiful temple and pray to God in its courts.

Bethlehem’s days of glory were past. But the stable waited.

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Do you have a creche, a nativity scene, a belen in your house? If so, not only do you have a thing of beauty, you have a good way to introduce even small children to the Christmas story in a very concrete fashion.

Many families hide baby Jesus until 25th (or the evening of the 24th). Some do as I did last year when I gave my goddaughter and her sister a creche. I gave it a piece a day with an accompanying story so they could learn the Christmas story bit by bit. I started on the 18th (because when I counted backwards that’s how many pieces I had) and ended on the 6th of January, when the wisemen staggered across the final bookcase to be with Jesus. I’m going to post the images and the story I wrote, but they’re just there as an example. You should adapt and adopt traditions to suit you, your children, and the size of your creche!

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