Advent VersesAlso known as the Hope candle, we continue throughout the week to read prophecies from the Old Testament and revel in their fulfillment. We are not only celebrating the birth of a baby. We are celebrating that this baby grew to be a man who laid down His life as a sacrifice for our sins and that through His death and resurrection, we have access to eternal life with Him. Without this gift, we would have no hope. We also look with hope to the fulfillment of His promise of a second-coming and rejoice that He always keeps His promises!
Isaiah 61:1 tells us He would preach good news and Luke 4:14-21 confirms this fulfillment.
Today, we go back to the beginning. Our verse is Genesis 1:1
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
Today's ornament can represent this verse with a drawing of the earth. If you are hanging symbols rather than drawings, you could decorate a bouncy-ball with paint, marker, or painted paper mache to look like a miniature earth. Tack a string into the rubber ball with a push-pin to hang from your Jesse Tree.
Verses to KnowI encourage the kids to memorize a verse each day with the Jesse Tree readings. We’ve never successfully memorized them all, but they are surprised each year how quickly the verses come back to them. The very purpose of the Jesse Tree is to tell the story of the gospel from beginning to end and what better way than with scripture our hearts? Today’s verse is a promise of things to come. A promise of Christ to come:
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. - Isaiah 11:1
Jesse was father to David, who was in the lineage of Christ. Today’s verse is not chronological. Today we learn that God is sovereign and has always known what His plans would be. Tomorrow, we begin with creation and work our way forward.
Homeschool In The Woods has an amazing unit study called History of Holidays, which includes beautiful Jesse Tree ornaments to print and color. If you have ever used anything from Homeschool In The Woods, you know that the quality here is amazing. This set is not free, but very affordable, especially when you consider that it covers holidays year round, not just for Christmas.
To ExploreThe Advent Calendar
Advent calendars have been around for over a hundred years as a fun way to count down to Christmas Day. The modern Advent Calendar comes in many shapes and sizes ranging from beautifully ornate to amazingly simple. Styles range from gold guild to toilet paper rolls wrapped in paper. Chocolate Advent Calendars are a fun twist! A brief history can be found here: http://awoodenadventcalendar.com/history-advent-calendar.htm
Christmas Around the WorldGermany
We owe many of our modern Christmas celebrations to the Germans, who have celebrated Christmas with it’s Christian purpose and family focus probably longer than anyone in the world. Christmas celebrations were actually banned for a long time in Christian communities because of their wild, pagan celebrations. Even up to the time of our American Revolution, Christmas was not commonly celebrated by the devout. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Germany, customs began to change. England began to adopt the family-friendly Christmas customs of Germany and the trend spread.
An interesting German Epiphany tradition is to mark three letters with chalk over doorways for protection: C, M, and B; standing for the “Three Kings” Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. However, even many Germans might be surprised to discover that these three letters originated with the Latin phrase for “Christ bless this house” — “Christus mansionem benedicat”.
Some German children believe it is the Christ child and not Santa who “brings gifts”. Our name for Kris Kringle likely originated with the German term “Christkindl”, meaning ‘Christ Child’.
German Traditions -
German Christmas Words -
German Spritzgeback Cookies -
German Liebesgruebchen (Love Dimple Cookies)
German roots to our modern Christmas -
German Culture Site (discussing Advent) -
Hands On (cooking, coloring, creating)Today would be a great time to create your own Advent Calendar! There are so many different versions out there – it is amazing! Here are just a few:
Envelopes and paper clips -
Advent Book -
Jan Brett downloadable -
List of many more ideas -
Advent Jar -
Toilet Paper Cups -
Felt Pockets -
Fabric Envelopes -
An amazing collection of homemade ideas
Small, adorable Advent houses to print and fold
Online Advent Countdown Calendars –
This year, my family is just going to use a sticker-calendar (the first link shown.) Here are samples of other calendars that may be purchased. Perhaps they will spark your imagination and you will be able to design your own. Be sure to share a link with us here; we'd love to see what you come up with.
MusicA well known German Christmas song is Ave Maria, composed by Franz Schubert in 1826. Schubert originally intended the lyrics to be an excerpt from The Lady of the Lake, but over time the words were substituted with the Latin text of the traditional Ave Maria prayer.
The German lyrics: http://www.vistawide.com/german/christmas/ave_maria.htm