December 10, 2007

Our First Week of Advent...

has not gone quite as I planned, but we've still enjoyed it, nonetheless. I've discovered that I had too many things that didn't coordinate, so we're just not getting to them all. They are all things that will be fun traditions, but they'll have to be alternating traditions!

We have been doing the Jesse Tree, though a mini version of it. I think we're going to skip the prophecy focus for this year and do that next year when Jacob will "get" that concept better. We're reading One Wintry Night and correlating the chapters with our Jesse Tree devotions. That is working well. One Wintry Night is a very well written book. (This book, with many others that were special to their family, was a beautiful, treasured gift from Mattie's birth family when she was given to us. And they didn't even know we were book-a-holics!)

And we've been studying the symbols of the Christmas season using the Lisa Welchel book I wrote about a couple of posts ago. This book has been just what I needed. I have struggled in years past wondering what traditions to do because of all the things "they" say... Who are "they" anyway???? Is a Christmas tree really pagan?? Is Santa all that bad?? Does Xmas really a way to get Christ out of Christmas? (No, by the way.) Why in the world do people eat fruitcake?? (Ha! Just kidding on that one... no book could possibly ever explain that one!) Anyway, it has been good to learn where all of these things came from. (Martin Luther was the one who started the tradition of lights on a tree. Never knew that!) It has freed me to relax about much of the stuff I would have lumped into "commercialism," and feeling free is a wonderful thing!

So far we've learned about Christmas trees, lights on the tree, advent wreaths, Saint Nicholas, and Christmas pageants. Each day we read about that symbol from The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Welchel, read some children's books relating to the symbol, and read a poem relating to the symbol if I have one. (Lois Lenski's Christmas Stories happens to have many poems that have correlated well with our symbols and Jacob has really enjoyed the poetry exposure.) Then we've done some activity relating to that symbol. It's really been a fun way to get our Christmas "things" done this year!

The symbols I have planned to talk about in the next two weeks are: nativity scene, ornaments, Christmas colors, candy cane, giving gifts, wrapping gifts, poinsettia, star, candles, angels, 12 days of Christmas, and the wise men. (Obviously, some of these roots are very clear already.)

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