Angels are so important to the Christmas story. Who did God send to Mary to let her know she had been chosen to bring our Savior into this broken, fallen world to save us from our sins? The angel Gabriel. Who convinced Joseph that it was okay to still marry Mary? An angel. Who announced his birth? A whole chorus of Angels! They are amazing little messengers. We can be angels of God by doing good deeds. You could invite a lonely neighbor over for dinner and have a good evening. You could donate your time at a soup kitchen or serve Christmas dinner to our homeless and veterans at a local shelter. There are so many ways you can be an angel to brighten someone’s day/life. One way we play angel is every year we pick up a gift for a boy around my son’s age and donate it to the Angel Tree that Walmart or Kmart usually have up front. The gift usually consists of a toy the child requests on the tag and hat/gloves to help stay warm. We live in the Mid-West and those are a MUST living through our sometimes brutal winters. Please check out your local Salvation Army for details if you would like to be an angel.
Day 10 of the countdown to Christmas Scripture: Luke 1:42-45, In a loud voice Elizabeth exclaimed ” Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Today is Advent Sunday so we lit the 2nd purple candle, The candle of Preparation or the candle of Bethlehem (peace)- God has kept his promise of a savior who would be born in Bethlehem. Preparation means to “get ready”. Help us to be ready to welcome YOU, O God! Luke 3:4-6- As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
I think the colors of Christmas are my favorite! Red, white, green, silver and gold. Did you know that each color has significant meaning for Christmas?
Red: Is for the blood Jesus shed for us on the cross.
White: Is for the purity Jesus had living a life free of sin and being the spotless Lamb.
Green: Is for the eternal life given to us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
Silver: Is for the silver coins that was paid for His betrayal and our redemption.
Gold: Is a reminder that God’s Son is a great and divine King.
As the seasons change God, the Master Painter of our world, gives us physical reminders of his great love for us. Through the red of Christmas berries, white of snow, green of the ever-green trees, silver of tinsel we put on our Christmas trees and gold of the trumpet the angels play.
Day 9 of the countdown to Christmas Scripture Luke 1:38-41 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. at that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of judean, where she entered Zachariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Don’t you just love driving around and looking at the Christmas lights? We have lots in our city and local area. We ohhh and awe at the imagination some folks have! Do you know who started this who idea of decorating our homes with lights? Edward Johnson. Just a few short years after the invention of the light bulb (1882) he was decorating with colored lights! 13 years after that President Grover Cleveland plugged in the very first light up Christmas tree in the White House. After WWII American families could afford to decorate with colored lights and you know how us Americans are; we are competitive! So if our neighbor hung lights so did we! Our neighborhoods began to light up during the Christmas season.
Matthew 5: 14 & 16 reminds us “You are the light of the world-like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” Our lights help remind us that as christians we are to be the light of the world and do good deeds to gain praise for our heavenly Father.
Day 8 of the countdown to Christmas Scripture: Luke 1:37 For no word from God will ever fail.
“Where is the one who has been born the King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” Matthew 2:2, NIV
This is what the Magi, or wise men, were asking when they followed the bright star that shown over the birthplace of Jesus. Can you imagine being so drawn to the heavens that you would embark on a long and dangerous journey to find the reason? With the technology we have now we can see what the Judean sky might have looked like that night, which is a fun research project for older kids and families. This is something I would like to do once my son is a little older considering the conflict of opinions surrounding it. However it happened it was nothing short of a miracle for our fallen, unhappy world that Jesus had been born! According to Matthew 2:10 “The sight of the star filled them ( Magi ) with indescribable joy”
Our activity for this was to purchase a new star to go on the top of our tree. The book suggests making a star chain for your tree but we were in need of a new star 🙂
Day 6 of the count down to Christmas scripture: Isaiah 9:6 For unto 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, and Prince of Peace.
Did you know that the candy cane was once used as a pacifier for fussy babies? Goodness! During the 1670s an unknown German choirmaster had the idea of bending the canes and handing them out to the tiny tots so that when they become bored with the Christmas pageant they could suck on them to keep quiet. I would say that was a smart idea! So as the legend goes, hundred of years later an Indiana candy maker wanted to improve of the candy cane. He wanted to add a large red stripe to remind us of the blood Jesus shed on the cross and smaller red stripes to remind us of the lashing Jesus endured while carrying his cross “by His stripes we are healed” Isaiah 53:5. The white color reminds us that Jesus lived a life completely without sin. The candy’s hardness reminds us that Jesus is our Rock to salvation. The candy cane was already bent and it reminded folks of a shepherds hook and if you turn it over it looks like a “J” to remind us of Jesus and why he was born and the sacrifice he made to save us from our sins. What a powerful story to be able to tell now when you share a candy cane with your children and friends this Christmas season.
Now the activity we chose to do was the Reindeer Evangelists; we simply got traditional candy canes and dressed them up as reindeer, they are so cute! When we shared them with family and friends we also told them the story of how the candy cane came to be.
Day 5 of the countdown to Christmas scripture: Luke 1:31-33, You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the thorne of his father David and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
In this activity we learn about why we use the Christmas tree as our biggest decoration during this season. Legend has it that during the 7th century a young english missionary, Winfrid; who later becomes Saint Boniface, came upon a group of men offering sacrifice to a large oak tree. He became so angered that he felled the tree in one single chop with an ax! Later a tiny evergreen tree began to grow in the stump of the oak. In awe of the little tree he proclaimed that the tree showed Jesus’s victory over death on the cross and eternal life made possible by the King of Kings.
When you put your tree up you can see the triangle shape of it and think of the Trinity of God; The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us on a tree to save us from our sinful nature, isn’t that amazing love!
What I love about this book is it gives suggestions for activities to do that can help bring the meanings to reality. We chose to do the Animal Christmas Tree. We bought some bird seed blocks and placed them in the feeders we have in our tree out back.
Little man is 9 this year and at the perfect age for this to really start sinking in. I am so excited to share this with him and you! More to come 🙂
Day 2 of The Count Down to Christmas Scripture:
Matthew 1:18-24, This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: his mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel (God be with us ) When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
We need a nicer way to hang stockings during Christmas so I got a plank of wood, paint, stickers, modge podge, and cabinet knobs.
Painted the wood plank red and let it dry, next I drew small circles and painted them green. After everything was dry I placed modge podge where I wanted the stickers then placed the stickers. Let dry then put a layer of modge podge all over the board, repeated 3 times drying between layers.
Found the perfect stickers at Big Lots 🙂
Modge Podge under and over the stickers
Added the knobs, we added eye screws and a chain to hang it 🙂
I ABSOLUTELY love the texture of this play-dough!! And so simple to make 🙂 Here is the recipe:
5 cups water
5 cups flour
2 1/2 cups salt
3 tablespoons of tartar
10 tablespoons of vegetable oil
food coloring ( optional )
Mix together water, salt and cream of tartar on low heat for a few minutes till salt and tartar is dissolved.
Add your flour and oil a little at a time.
Then stir, stir, stir 🙂
When the dough starts pulling away from the pan then it is ready for the next step!
If you are making colored play-dough then divide up the dough and mix in the color, otherwise just put it out on the table and knead till cool.
Beautiful!! It is now ready to be played with. When done playing just store in freezer bags.
Here is some pictures of the fun we had with this play-dough.
M was here to play today and he had so much fun!
I LOVE being a homeschooler!
We needed a good rainy day project that our little friend M could do also, I found this recipe for cloud dough here .
8 cups of plain flour
1 cup of baby oil
This smelled so good, I LOVE the smell of baby oil. This took only a few minutes to make and they played for a good 30 minutes before becoming distracted. So all in all a great way to pass the time. Older kids can have fun with it also. Next time we make it I plan to add food coloring just to make it a little more colorful. Here’s what we came up with:
Measuring out the flour 🙂
Pouring the baby oil.
mixing it all together
Now time to play!
I have some candy molds that I got at a thrift store that worked perfectly!
As you can see it was very messy but SO much fun!
I wanted to make bean bags to use for color matching, bean bag toss, or whatever else we could use them for so I bought every color of felt I could find. I bought the 11″x8.5″ and cut them in half and then cut it in half again giving me 4 sections of one color. I sewed the sections on 3 sides and then filled them with beans. Then sewed up the 4th side. VERY simple to make and takes about an hour 🙂
He matched all of them the first time! He was very proud of himself 🙂