Playmobil Advent – Days Fourteen & Fifteen

Today’s shepherd and angel are from Playmobil kit #4884 and can be viewed/ordered here.

A busy weekend and a few lingering colds etc meant that the regular updates haven’t happened, but here are the readings for today and yesterday.

Day 14 – Luke 2: 6-12 (TNIV)

6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Day 15 – Luke 2: 13-20 (TNIV)

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

               14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Playmobil Advent – Day Thirteen

Today’s baby Jesus is from Playmobil kit #4884 and can be viewed/ordered here.

The smallest package was the most exciting.  The central piece of the scene arrived today.  With baby Jesus in the scene, we now have a natural center.

Day 13 – Isaiah 9: 2-7

2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as soldiers rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Playmobil Advent – Day Twelve

Today’s star is from Playmobil kit #4884 and can be viewed/ordered here.

Although the timing of the appearance of the star isn’t entirely clear, we decided to put it up before the child is born. The kids are really getting excited about the arrival of the baby Jesus.

Day 12 – Luke 1: 46-56

46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.  51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Playmobil Advent – Day Eleven

Today’s manger is from Playmobil kit #4884 and can be viewed/ordered here.

It’s funny how “manger” sounds so much nicer than “feeding trough.”  I like how this scene shows the animals using what will serve as Jesus’ first bed. I’ve heard of a variety of things serving as a first bed, whether it was specially designed basinet or more innovative re-purposing of dresser drawers, old boxes or a well surrounded spot on the floor.  Many of us had humble births, and in that beginning Jesus identifies with us, with our mothers who bring us into uncertain worlds and with our children unaware of the dangers we hope to shield them from.

Day 11 – Luke 1: 39-45 (TNIV)

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

John the Baptist and Nelson Mandela

This past Sunday we had a great performance by our church choir, and I took ten minutes at the end to draw some parallels between the lives and legacies of John the Baptist, who is featured in this year’s second Sunday of Advent scripture reading, and Nelson Mandela, who died just a few days before.

Playmobil Advent – Day Ten

Today’s boiling pot, stand and fire are from Playmobil kit #4884 and can be viewed/ordered here.

In setting up today’s scene, my daughter wanted to put Mary by the pot, but I insisted that Joseph would be more useful at the pot boiling water than she would be.  Having been a part of a temporarily unassisted birth, I can better imagine what Joseph went through in that setting.  I didn’t boil any water, but if there had been extra time, that would have been a good way to keep myself busy and to keep my mind off of the obvious task at hand. Maybe Abraham was just as clueless as Joseph and I were.

Day 10 – Genesis 15: 1-6

1 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Playmobil Advent – Day Nine

Today’s bucket of fresh hay and bag of oats are from Playmobil kit #4884 and can be viewed/ordered here.

Day 9 – Genesis 3: 8-15

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”  14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”


Playmobil Advent – Day Eight

Today’s stump, wood pile, axe and mouse are from Playmobil kit #4884 and can be viewed/ordered here.

This passage has lots of fun utopian imagery and symbolism that kids don’t get, but the idea of a family tree that gets cut down seemed to connect.  We have reason to believe that Mary and Joseph would have stayed in Bethlehem for a long time, and whether it was at the stable or not, a heat source would likely have been helpful.

Day 8 – Isaiah 11: 1-10 (TNIV)
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord — 3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 Infants will play near the hole of the cobra; young children will put their hands into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.

Playmobil Advent – Day Seven

In seeking to establish a family Christmas tradition, this year my wife and I purchased a few Christmas and Nativity scene kits from Playmobil. Every day from now until Christmas Eve we will reveal more pieces and characters for our scene, tell a little bit more of the Christmas story, read a short passage of scripture, sing a Christmas Carol, and maybe enjoy a treat or two. I share this as a resource to other parents, and as a fun way of connecting.

Today’s cow and hay are from Playmobil kit #4884 and can be viewed/ordered here.

Day 7 – Deuteronomy 18: 15-19

15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your own people. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”

17 The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their people, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.

Playmobil Advent – Day Six

In seeking to establish a family Christmas tradition, this year my wife and I purchased a few Christmas and Nativity scene kits from Playmobil. Every day from now until Christmas Eve we will reveal more pieces and characters for our scene, tell a little bit more of the Christmas story, read a short passage of scripture, sing a Christmas Carol, and maybe enjoy a treat or two. I share this as a resource to other parents, and as a fun way of connecting.

Today’s structure is from Playmobil kit #4884 and can be viewed/ordered here.

Today we added the stable, a place of refuge and yet far from what they would have wanted and far from the cute, romantic setting it is in our greeting cards.  Our churches and families both serve as the messy, smelly, imperfect vessels through which our Christmas traditions and memories are delivered to us.  God meets us where we are, despite our tidiness, despite our surroundings, and despite our company.

Day 6 – Zechariah 6: 12-13 & Micah 5: 2-4 (TNIV)
Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me     one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” 3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. 4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.