Friday, December 26, 2008

Day 25 - The Birth of Jesus

Luke 2 1-10. The birth of Jesus! He's finally here! Thank you, Jesus, for coming as a little baby to be our savior. We've been counting down for 25 days, and the birth of Jesus has never been so anticipated in our home. My children asked if we were going to do the Jesse tree next year and they hoped we would use the same ornaments. They can't wait to count down his birth again. It has been a truly remarkable time for us celebrating a little more each day.

Day 24 - An angel, the messenger

Luke 2: 8-14. " Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men." (vs. 14) The angels were bringing the greatest message of all time to the shepherds watching over their flocks.

Listen to this beautiful song, The First Noel, below. Imagine the angels singing gloriously....I can't help but sing along.

Day 23 - The Light of the World

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8: 12

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 22 - A Star

The Star

Mathew 2:1 -12

It was very fitting that the son that is very interested in astronomy got the star ornament today. He doesn't know it yet, but his big present this year is a nice telescope - ssssshhhhh....don't tell. He was very interested in the story of the magi following the stars for many years and searching and searching for signs and then there it was - THE star, THE sign, THE Messiah. It's like our search for God. We have to really want him, search for him, and it may take a while to fully understand the depth of his love for us. But then, with our childlike faith, and the awe and excitement as the Magi had, we take him into our hearts and then we grow and grow through our relationship with him. I wonder if the wise men fully understood what they were searching for, or if they just had faith that he was the savior? I wonder if they kept tabs on him as he grew up?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Come Then, Lord Jesus
Words by Horatius Bonar alt by Hutson and Bowser, Music by Kenny Hutson & Katy Bowser.
© 2007 Velveteen Music (SESAC)/Jiggyfoot Music (SESAC)

1. The Church has waited long Her absent Lord to see
And still in loneliness she waits A friendless stranger she
Age after age has gone, Sun after sun has set
And still, in weeds of widowhood, She weeps a mourner yet

Chorus: Come then, Lord Jesus, come
Come then, Lord Jesus
Come then, Lord Jesus, come, come, come.

2. The serpent’s brood increase, The powers of hell grow bold
The conflicts thickens, faith is low, And love is waxing cold
How long, O Lord our God, Holy and true and good
Wilt thou not judge Thy suffering Church, Her sighs and
tears and blood?

3. We long to hear thy voice, To see Thee face to face
To share Thy crown and glory then, As now we share thy grace
Should not the loving bride, The absent Bridegroom mourn?
Should she not wear the weeds of grief, Until her
Lord return?

4. The whole creation groans, And wait to hear that voice
That shall restore her comeliness, And make her wastes rejoice
Come, Lord, and wipe away, The curse, the sin, the stain
And make this blighted world of ours, Thine own fair
world again.

We sang this song today as a part of our family worship. I just love the words to this song and found it very appropriate for our Jesse Tree devotion today. If you can find a snippet of the music online somewhere, give it a listen to.

Day 20 and 21

The ExileDaniel 3: 19-29, Jeremiah 1:8
Idol worship was one of the main reasons God had brought judgment on Israel. But a "godly remnant" remain in the tribe of Judah, although they were taken captive, this was to preserve the lineage of His people. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is a favorite to tell at Sunday School, but learning more then the miraculous story and seeing God's providence at work is really reassuring to know that his presence is always with us.

The Return to the Land

Ezra 1; Nehemiah 6:15, 16
After 70 years of captivity, Judah was brought back to their land, the wall of Jerusalem was completed. The people waited for the messenger, John the Baptist, as the herald of Christ's first coming. Luke 1:76, 7:27.

Day 18 and 19

"I will put my law within them, and write it on their hearts"

Jeremiah 31:33

Prophecy of Bethlehem

From the smallest of towns our savior was born. Please Lord, use us as small and weak as we are, for your glory. Luke 2:1 - 7

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Silent Night

Today we read, Silent Night by Will Moses. It is a beautifully illustrated book by a renowned folk artist. It is a story of a family preparing for a new baby to come on Christmas Eve. It is set in a tiny Vermont village and incorporates the first stanza of the song Silent Night. The children really enjoyed this story, it has a very sweet ending. We made candle holders out of blue bags, we cut out different shapes for windows. Then we took Peel and Stick laminate paper and sprinkled different kinds of festive glitter to it. We used battery operated "flickering candles" (so we wouldn't burn the house down with real candles). We sang Silent Night with all the lights out, then we told stories - like you do when you are camping around a fire. It was a nice evening. The kids each took one light to their rooms and watched them as them fell asleep (you could never do THIS with real candles!). Now, I'm using the bags as gift bags for Christmas presents!

The First Christmas Stocking

We read The First Christmas Stocking, which is a book about giving of oneself. This story is about a little girl that knits stockings for money. She knits beautiful scenes in them and they are said to be the warmest stockings in the valley. Her family is very poor and all she wants for Christmas is to have a big log to burn all day, a candle to use to see what she is knitting, a spice cake to eat, cider to drink and fresh tobacco for her father. She is knitting 6 stockings for a rich lady for the money for these things. She ends up making a choice that, of course, brought me to tears.
This book is a good starting point for a discussion on giving. After our Jesse Tree day of the Suffering Servant who gave the ultimate gift, his own life, coupled with this story of a poor girl giving up her Christmas wishes, we made 3 stockings to help remind us of what we can give to Jesus, Family and Others. We labeled them and hung them up, each of us adding papers with hand-written ideas of what we wanted to give. We are going to read these out loud after dinner.

A Cross - Day 17

Prophecy of the Suffering Servant - Isaiah 53

"Why did Jesus come to earth?"

Here is a poem my little princess is memorizing:

Song - Eugene Field

Why do the bells of Christmas ring?
Why do the little children sing?

Once a lovely shining star,
Seen by shepherds from afar,
Gently moved until its light
Made a manger's cradle bright.

There a darling baby lay,
Pillowed soft upon the hay;
And its mother sung and smiled:
"This is Christ, the holy Child!"

Therefore bells for Christmas ring,
Therefore little children sing.

I wonder what Mary was thinking when her baby boy - grown man was being nailed to the cross. I wonder if she knew part of his destiny was to be a suffering servant? I wonder if she wept: "But, this is Christ, the holy Child!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Gingerbread Village Pictures

Illuminated Christmas

Today we read The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans (best selling author of The Christmas Box). This story is about a man that buys a special candle from a chandler that thinks he needs "illumination". On his walk home this special light helps him see people that remind him about how we are all a part of the same family.
After we read the story, we made tinfoil ornaments in the shape of candles with flames.

Prophecy of Prince and Shepherd, days 15 and 16

Prophecy of the Prince of Peace and Prophecy of a Shepherd

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

John 14:27

Prince of Peace, Light of the World, Gentle Shepherd, Savior...

He goes by all these names. May we always listen to hear your voice and follow your call.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27

Here is the pic of Ethan hanging the Lion and the Lamb prophecy from day 14.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mortimer's Christmas Manger

I picked a book for today that my oldest two wouldn't miss so much, because one is under the weather and the other is working on a science project. So we read Mortimer's Christmas Manger. It is a sweet story about a mouse, Mortimer, that discovers the manger scene in the house he lives in. At the end, he ends up living in the Ginger Bread house instead. So, we decorated our Ginger Bread Village, that we were suppose to do at a party that got canceled over bad weather last week, and we couldn't go to the rescheduled date. This story was perfect for my 4 year old, and my 7 year old read most of it to her before I got to the couch. The illustrations were great too!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 12, 13, 14.... what happened?

Well, we had a busy weekend. We had the Bible..... II Kings 23:1-3 Josiah sent some men to clean up the church and they found portions of the Bible, it had been lost for a long time. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" Psalm 119:105.

the stump of Jesse..... (thank you Grandma T. it's lovely!) Isaiah 11:1 - 5. This is the symbol that we get our Advent Jesse Tree from. Jesse was the father of David. God had to warn His people that they would be cut off for a time because of their sins, from their brokenness would shoot forth a new branch - JESUS! the anointed one.

and the lion and the lamb, which I will post pictures of later.

A Christmas Memory

Friday, we read A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. It is a touching story, beautifully illustrated, about the memories a young boy has of an elderly relative, that he used to live with, and what she taught him. We made a book....

to hold all our Christmas memories that we are making this year, and the next, and the next, and so on.... We'll pull this out each year and reminisce and add to the memories.

This was on of my favorite things I was looking forward to starting this year. The kids are all thinking about what they want to write in it already and what pictures to add to it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

Christmas is pish-posh!
Oh my, I was not prepared for this story. Good thing the book came with a CD, because I wouldn't have been able to make it through without crying. This book is about the best woodcarver in the valley that keeps to himself and no one knows why he never smiles or laughs. I won't give anything away here. A mother and son request that he carves a nativity scene to replace the one that they lost in their moving to the town. This book is about hope and love. This book will get read every year in our home, that's a guarantee. If you get the book with the CD, it is narrated by James Earl Jones, whom I love his voice, personally. Here is a link to the movie on Youtube, if you want to catch a glimpse and then get or rent a copy. I'm getting one from Netflix right now!
book link:
So, the good Lord must have known that I was going to be sick on the day I planned on today's book because it happened to come with a CD, I had planned to watch The Nativity Story on DVD, and the activities I planned were fairly simple. So, I got to lay on the couch and recover while the children helped themselves. Perfect timing! So, the nativity stickers and nativity felt book were brought out and played with during the movie.

Day 11 - King David

1 Samuel 16 -17

From humble shepherd, to brave stone-thrower, to beautiful song writer, to confronted sinner, to mercy-begging repenter, David is true picture of a man of God. David established the royal family that fulfilled the prophecy that the Savior of Israel must be of royal blood.

Thank you Angela S. for the sling shot. We love it.

This ornament really suites my 2nd son. I think he would have volunteered to aim it straight at Goliah, had he been there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Celebrating the Season Blog Carnival

Here are my music picks for the blog carnival. Keep reading the posts to see the book reviews throughout the site. Enjoy!
A Classical Kids Christmas is what you will find playing over here at our house. Classical carols and classic poetry combine to tell the story of Christmas. Experience the traditions of Christmas around the world, meet Saint Nicholas, and follow the three wise men as they set out for Bethlehem...and more!

Also, you will hear, Elvis Christmas songs at any given time! My Elvis Christmas record is my most prized Christmas possesion. My wonderful husband has collected every Elvis LP he comes across for me, knowing that I am a huge fan. Since he is a record collector, he likes the hunt.
Join Celebrating the Season Blog Carnival at Molly's blog:

Day 10 - Ruth and Boaz

Because Ruth loved Naomi, her mother-in-law, so much, she accepted Naomi's faith, which was not her own. She was so faithful to Naomi after they lost their husbands that she went working in a wheat field to take care of Naomi. Boaz redeemed Ruth by marrying her, just as Jesus redeems us by his blood. Ruth and Boaz conceived Obed, who was King David's grandfather. Ruth, a Gentile, was part of God's plan of salvation reaching beyond the Jewish race to include all people. Ruth is now listed in Mathew as ancestress of David and Christ.

*I have a special love for this story because we named our oldest son Obed, after seeing it in the Bible. The name means servant of God.

Ruth 1-4, Mathew 1:5

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Still Waiting for Christmas

Lebkuchen German cookies

Today we made a recipe that was mentioned in the book Waiting for Christmas that we read yesterday. The recipe is for Lebkuchen which we got from One of my sons said, "Mom, why do you have recipe for everything? That's weird. How do you do it?"

I forgot to mention yesterday, that we did the 3 wise men because they are mentioned in this story as having to wait for Jesus. Sources tell us that they actually searched for him for several years, and they weren't really there the night Jesus was born in the manger. I still like them present in our manger scenes as a reminder of their search and persistence.

On a humorous note, we are also reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and today's chapter was so hilarious. This book suits our family's sense of humor and we get to talk about all these situations that arise in the book. This group of kids that are from the same family are known to be the most unruly kids ever. They have hi-jacked the Christmas pageant and are hearing the Christmas story for the first time. I have to read you this excerpt that we read today:

"I couldn't understnad the Herdmans. You would have thought the Christmas story came right out of the F.B.I. files, they got so involved in it- wanted a bloody end to Herod, worried about Mary having her baby in a barn, and called the Wise Men a bunch of dirty spies.

And they left the first rehersal arguing about whether Joseph should have set fire to the inn, or just chased the innkeeper into the next county."

Day 9 - The Promised Land

Our symbol today is a cluster of grapes (Thank you Amanda K. and girls!). These grapes represent the bad choices the Israelites made listening to their own hearts rather then listening to God. Our reading was in Numbers. (Numbers 13-14:38). Last year we did an in-depth history study of the ancient civilizations, so we all easily recalled the foolishness of the Israelites leading to their wandering in the desert for 40 years. God never abandoned his people, in spite of their failures to obey him. Out of this broken remnant came a King, through David, who was Jesus Christ. Once again, the Lord prevails. Our brokenness for his glory! This theme repeats itself through history over and over again and is most prevalent in our lives to this day.

I'm participating in the Celebrating The Season Blog Carnival. Join in! Thankyou Molly for putting this together.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Three Wise Men and Mary

We are going to be making a nativity creche using the book Step by Step Christmas Creche. Today we made the 3 wisemen, a donkey, and Mary. I almost passed up this book a few weeks ago, because, come on, they aren't the prettiest decorations to have out. But, my little artist son said "Mom! Can we get THAT book?" I had to. And, I'm glad I did. Lots of cooperation and patience went into making these things and everyone was pleased with their creation.