Monday, December 9, 2013

The First Week of Advent

The Christmas season is upon us. The first week of Advent is over and I was actually "with it" this year and got our Advent worship times started on time, instead of partway through the month (though I am a bit late getting this post up). We have observed Advent for quite a few years, though we don't always do the same thing every year. I have used different books and activities through the years, but the focus is always on the coming celebration of Jesus's birth.

Before I go any further I want to say, yes, I know that Jesus was probably not born on December 25th. I have known this for years, since taking an Ancient History class in college. Just recently, through reading The War on Christmas and from seeing comments on Facebook, I have discovered that there are different theories on when Jesus was born. I have also been made aware of the controversy of celebrating Christmas at all. There is just so much I have been discovering and it is all just so controversial. Needless to say, my husband and I have decided that it is more than acceptable to be celebrating God's gift to the world and we will continue to do so. That said, we do not include pagan aspects into our celebration, or we try not to. We have not included Santa or a Christmas tree for years. We try to focus on the gift of Jesus and we stress the importance of this to the children. 

I wanted to share the ways we are preparing for Christmas this Advent. Usually we put up a poster board with a tree painted on it. This tree is our countdown chart and we take off a piece each night. On each decoration on the tree there is the name of someone to pray for during our Bible time. When our tree has been completely cut down we will have revealed a cross. I have posted about this in the past, but I thought I would share a picture:

This year we are also including some advent calendars that the children made. This isn't something we have done before, but the older two girls made some at co-op.

These were made by filling small plastic cups with candy, trinkets and Bible verses, then covering the cups with green napkins. Then the cups were hot glued onto the poster board. The girls look forward to opening them each day, enjoying their treat and taking turns reading the Bible verses.

To make it fair I also made one each for Harold and Hannah. I found the idea for these over at An Ordinary Housewife. I took two egg cartons, cut off the lids and the little closure flap, then I placed them in a cereal box which I had cut the back off of. I cut some out of the back piece to attach to the inside of the box to help form the rows. The we put candy in each compartment and I taped alternating red and green paper on the cardboard strips.

I added a stand in the back.

This year we are using an Advent book called Celebrate Jesus: Light of the World by Amy Blevins from Homeschool Encouragement. Amy has included Bible readings, plus devotions for mom (and older children) to dig deeper. Additionally, there are activities for each day plus some recipes and song suggestions which we have been pulling up on YouTube to watch, listen to and sing along with.

Each day this past week we lit a candle in our Advent wreath. The one my sister had gotten me years ago had been ruined last year, so I made a very simple one.

After we light the candle we pray and sing J-O-Y. We then head to the computer to read the Bible verses Amy has included in the Advent book. In the back of the book you will find some copy work that is based on each day's reading. The girls have been working on these as well, along with their Why I Give Activity Books, during the day. 

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