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One of the things that’s kind of cool about living where we live, is that we’re approximately 45 miles from Chicago. Most families go to Chicago to visit the museums, see the Christmas lights, or to enjoy deep-dish pizza. Some families drive. Other families take the commuter train. So most kids have a good idea of how far we live from city.
Which makes it a great illustration this time of year because Nazareth is approximately 80-90 miles from Bethlehem. I explain to the kids that Joseph and Mary’s journey was like walking to Chicago and back … and most kids over the age of five or six, get that and have at least some understanding of how far their journey was.
Not everyone has a stand-out destination 45 miles away – but you do have SOMETHING 45 miles away. Why not find a restaurant or other destination 45 miles from your house and do a day trip. Explain to your kids the significance of the distance. You don’t have to dwell on it for the entire trip, but occasionally say something such as, “I think I’d be tired if I had to walk this far,” or “I wonder how many days it took them to make the journey?”
Enjoy lunch at the restaurant or shopping at the store or visiting the park, and return home.
Knowing the distance is not necessary to understanding Luke 2, but it does help kids become familiar with the facts in still another way.
(I suggest this in my Developing Thinking Kids breakout session and always have good response – except when I was teaching on Oahu. They laughed and reminded me if they went 45 miles in one direction – they’d be in the ocean.)