Thursday, the 5th day of Advent
Psalm 16:10 tells us He would rise from the dead and both Mark 16:6 and Acts 2:31 tell us it happened just as foretold.
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. - Genesis 9:13
Today we continue with our discussion of sin entering the world and go on to the Flood. This can be a difficult discussion, but I appreciate today's words from RCA's devotional page - "Even in a sinful world, God still loves us and keeps His promises." This is a simple, beautiful truth that our children can grasp.
A drawing of a rainbow is a nice ornament for today's verse. If you are creating your own ornaments, you might enjoy painting a window sun-catcher. These are usually easy to find and rainbows are a popular design for them.
To ExploreChristmas Cards!
The very first Christmas card originated in England and was sent in 1843. It was the idea of Sir Henry Cole, who wanted to send greetings and well wishes to friends and family that included an encouragement to care for those in need. Rather than hand-write so many letters, he commissioned designer John Calcott Horsley to have them printed.
You can see in this image of the first Christmas Card a happy family toasting to the season. In the side panels, they are reaching out to those less fortunate with food and clothing.
Christmas cards soon became a popular custom. Popular artists included Kate Greenaway, Frances Brundage, and Ellen H. Clapsaddle. An internet image search for these names reveals beautiful, intricate cards. The custom was not seen in the United States until 1845. For 30 years, Americans imported their cards from Europe. In 1875, the first line of Christmas Cards was published in U.S. by Louis Prang, a German immigrant.
To view a beautiful gallery of Christmas card images, visit http://www.emotionscards.com/museum/xmas.html
Christmas Around the WorldEngland!
England has a rich Christmas history, including being the birthplace of Christmas cards. It is also where we derived our custom of singing Christmas Carols to friends and neighbors, originally known as "Wassailing". Wassailing had a very different beginning than what it is today but we'll get to that another day.
The mistletoe originated with the Romans as a symbol of peace. Enemies that met under the mistletoe set aside their weapons for a temporary truce. This developed into our custom of kissing under the mistletoe and was first seen as part of the Christmas season in England.
Christmas traditions in the UK are very similar to what is celebrated in the US, with a few exceptions. British children enjoy pulling Christmas crackers found on their plates on Christmas Day. Crackers are bright paper tubes, twisted at the ends. Children help each other pull on the ends which causes a loud pop or "crack" and reveals the contents of the tubes, usually riddles, trinket toys, and confetti. Many also contain a party hat that must be worn for the meal.
Pantomimes are a popular Christmas Eve activity. You can read about their development here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantomime Another British tradition is listening to the Queen's Christmas Message, broadcast on Christmas afternoon via radio and television.
The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day and is considered a public holiday in the UK. It is customary to give gifts to tradesmen you encounter on this day, often celebrated now through tipping the postman, trash pick-up, etc. It is also a popular day to raise money for charity.
To celebrate old-style, see http://www.christmasarchives.com/how2english.html
To share Christmas greetings in England, you'll blend in better if you say "Happy Christmas" rather than the American "Merry Christmas".
Hands On (cooking, coloring, creating)In all honesty, my family enjoys taking several days to celebrate today's theme. There are so many things to do, this unit can easily fill a week!
Christmas Crackers are a fun craft project.
Christmas Pudding is a distinctly English Christmas fare - http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Christmas-Plum-Pudding/Detail.aspx
My entire family looks forward to our afternoon of making homemade Christmas cards. Our favorite cards don't contain any drawings but instead use only construction paper, scissors, and glue. It is challenging to make tiny details without coloring anything, but we all enjoy cutting out those little touches, such as whiskers for kittens and even curling steam for cut-outs of hot cocoa. Give it a try!
Some other Christmas card ideas -
MusicA traditional English Christmas song is "I Saw Three Ships". One version is found here: http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/i_saw_three_ships.htm
MoviesA Christmas Carol is a classic British Christmas movie, though my favorite version is quite American -
Grown-ups might appreciate some British humor, though the following may not be appropriate for children -