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First Day of Christmas School

Today was our first day of Christmas School and we didn't even start until 3:00 p.m.! The boys had the opportunity to learn how to butcher rabbits today, so they were gone until then. Their grandpa is teaching them how to save the pelts, planting us firmly in redneck territory.

Chris and I celebrated 17 riveting years of marriage, but we're apparently getting old because we both forgot. We tried to somewhat make up for it with chinese food for lunch. Eventually, we got to Christmas school. Today, we studied Norway. We all love reading about Vikings and Norwegian customs. The girls colored a map and flag and a picture of juleken. We watched some YouTube clips and then went on a hunt for the perfect Jesse Tree Branch.

We all memorized Isaiah 11:1  

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;     from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

We work on a new Jesse Tree verse every weekday throughout Advent. This would usually be a lot for us, but we choose simple verses and we repeat the same verses every year, so they come back to us quickly. We've never made it successfully through every verse, but after a few more years, we just might do it!
We began our Advent readings last night, using Jotham's Journey and John Piper's 2012 Advent book. Our wreath has taken a beating over the last 12 years, but it still gets the job done. 
Here is the finished product. It's probably looks simple and awkward, but it is filled with sweet memories and is a symbol of so much hope that I can't see it as anything but beautiful. This really is a precious time that I treasure with my children. 

I'm feeling it ever heavier, this burden to nurture their spiritual lives. It is a responsibility that we so often leave in the hands of our church, but that doesn't cut it. Choosing a good church home, expressing joy and reverence towards our church family and services, encouraging discussions about their lessons...these are all important things, but it's not enough. Deuteronomy 11:19 is pretty clear that there's more to it. Advent is a sweet reminder to me that taking the time to do it right is so very worth it.
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