November 30, 2007

I am Sooooo Excited!!

I have been procrastinating my planning for December. (Yes, I know it starts tomorrow.) I've known that I wanted to focus some learning on Advent and traditional Christmas symbols. I've also known that I wanted to read some great meaty Christmas books. But, I've been completely overwhelmed at the prospect of putting it all together. I have no idea why, but there are so many good ideas out there online, I just couldn't narrow them down or face the thought of organizing them, so I've just ignored it altogether (while being quite stressed about it)! Today I had a few minutes alone (read: to casually browse items available for purchase) in the advent section at the Christian bookstore and found this book. It's by Lisa Welchel and it's wonderful!

Here is the Amazon description (click on the book to see more):
The ADVENTure of Christmas is a guide for moms concerned that their children are losing sight of Jesus in the midst of the distractions the holiday season brings. Lisa Whelchel was such a mom, but instead of abandoning the traditions of Christmas she rediscovered their original meanings, which were intended to remind people of God’s unfathomable gift. Hanging lights on the house, wrapping gifts, and decorating the tree have become opportunities to teach her children about how they relate to Jesus’ birth. With The ADVENTure of Christmas, mothers can redeem what’s been lost from the very symbols that are gentle reminders of the true meaning of Christmas.

Have you discovered that Jesus sometimes gets lost in the middle of the hustle and bustle of His birthday party? Would you like to be able to keep your children's focus on Jesus and also join them in the wonder of the celebration?

For each of the twenty-four days preceding Christmas, The ADVENTure of Christmas serves as a fun and handy guide that describes the significance behind your favorite traditions. Hanging lights on the house, wrapping gifts, and decorating the tree will become opportunities to share how these customs relate to Jesus' birth. The ADVENTure of Christmas recaptures the true meaning of this beloved season, giving reasons to celebrate for years to come.

So, now I'm organized all of a sudden! Just what I wanted for my symbols of Christmas study, all written up for me! (And when I got to the register, I asked if they had any coupons and the cashier pulled out a 25% off one for me! Yippee!!!) I'll put our books in wherever they fit best.

For our Advent Devotionals, we're going to do the book above. We've not done a Jesse Tree before. Actually, I didn't know what it was until just this week. This book takes you through the season of advent using devotionals based on themes of the story of Christ... the big picture. Each day the devotion is based on a symbol of a significant part of Christ's story. After reading the devotional, you take an ornament of that symbol and hang it on the Jesse Tree as a reminder of that part of the story. Through the Advent season, you go through the entire story of Christ. (I think I butchered that description, but it's really neat!)

The last thing I've been wanting is some sort of Advent calendar, but haven't fallen in love with any but's magnetic, wooden, and $65. So, it's still at the store! (I did come home and google it with some good fortune...only $40 in several places.) To get us through this year, I didn't really want one that just opened up a little paper door, and chocolate ones are out for us (food allergies), but I found a cute one with stickers tonight. So, each day we'll put one sticker on the background and by day 25, we will have a complete Nativity Scene! Nothing spectacular, but for five bucks, it fits the bill for this year. Then in January, hopefully that magnetic one will get cheaper...

Some other things we're going to do:
*Wrap up a book (some are library books), activity, nativity playset for the kids to open one each day of December (uhhh, not necessarily starting tomorrow!)
*Our own advent wreath and candles to light on Sundays as a family
*Two unit studies: The Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, Annika's Secret Wish
*Read lots of Christmas books and do activities/learning that go with them
*Go visit a nursing home and take some things we'll make as we learn about our symbols

Advent season here we come!!!

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