Dr. Dobson says: ‘The great value of traditions comes as they give a family a sense of identity, ‘belongingness’. All of us desperately need to feel that we’re not just a cluster of people living together in a house, but we’re
a family that’s conscious of its uniqueness, its personality, character and heritage, and that our special relationships of love and companionship make us a unit with identity and personality.’ A tradition is something that can change over time or be created with a sense of purpose. Special moments need to be created they do not occur by accident or without planning.
Psalm 77: 11—12 I will remember the deeds of the Lord, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works, and consider all your mighty deeds.
Here are some ideas to remember the miracles and mighty deeds of the Lord at Christmas with our families.
For this one you need a plastic or knitted nativity set. On Dec 1st they set up the manger where the tree will be, put the shepherd and sheep in a nearby ‘field’, and place Mary and Joseph somewhere ‘far away’ (main bedroom), and the Wise Men somewhere equally ‘far away’(another room in the house) but in the opposite direction! Take 24 pieces of paper and write instructions for moving one of the sets of people. Most days there are instructions to move a figure(s) somewhere, e.g. ‘Move Mary and Joseph from the piano to the TV.’ Other days there are things like ‘Make Christmas biscuits for the neighbors’.
Whatever journey the participants take, Jesus does not turn up in the manger in the stable until Christmas morning. This way the children’s attention is not so much on “What did I get?” but on “Is Jesus there yet?”
Setting up the tree
When erecting your tree talk about what Christmas means to us with the children and specially how the symbols we have today can point us to Jesus. This tradition is especially dear to me as I know no matter where my children go in the world each time they see any of these colours they will think of these things.
Egg: Christmas tree-
- Evergreen to symbolize the eternal life we have in Christ and God’s eternal love for us demonstrated in sending His Son
- Red—represent His blood shed for you and me. The price He paid.
- Gold—This is His crow in glory as the Son of God
- Purple– His royal robe.
- White – His purity. The Lamb without blemish.
- Star– the star over the manger
- Lights– stars in the heavens at the time of His birth or He is the light of the world.
- Angels– for the heavenly host who sang
- Silver—His promises fulfilled
- Blue– Creation In the beginning He made the heavens and the earth
Advent means ‘coming’ and the activities are a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. There are Advent story books to use as the center of your advent celebrations. They are complete with instructions and historical notes
and calendars to know when to start Advent each year. The first book is called ‘Jotham’s Journey’ by Arnold Ytreeide An advent wreath is used which has five candles and you light one a week and burn it each night as you read the story or scripture readings.Or you can burn a dated candle (one section a day), read a bible passage and sing/pray together each evening as a way of preparing the stage for Christmas Day.
Jesse Tree The Jesse Tree is a centuries-old family Advent devotion. It has particular value since it helps
both the children and adults a like to locate Jesus, the Messiah, within the lineage of the shepherd boy who became King of Israel–David, son of Jesse.
The whole idea of the Jesse Tree comes right out of a classic Advent passage from the prophet Isaiah: “A shoot will sprout from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit” (Is 11:1). The Jesse Tree is hung with ornaments representing Old Testament people and events and lead up to Jesus. The traditional symbols hung on the tree are based on the genealogy of Jesus as recounted by the first chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.
Set up a tree or branches with or without leaves. For the ornaments, you can either buy a Jesse Tree kit or just craft them yourself. Traditionally, there is one ornament for each day of Advent. You start at the base of the tree with Adam and Eve. At the top of the tree at the very end of the season comes a crib representing the baby Jesus. There’s a brief scripture reading for every symbol (see below). If you read these readings and contemplate them and the symbols to which they are linked, by December 25th you and your family will have a much deeper understanding of the history of salvation and the meaning of Christmas.
Abraham – Camel – Genesis 12:1-7:13:2-18; 18:1
Sarah – Baby – Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7
Isaac – Ram – Genesis 22:1-14
Jacob – Ladder – Genesis 27:41-28:22
Joseph – Multi-coloured Coat – Genesis 37:1-36
Moses – Burning Bush – Exodus 3:1-10
Miriam – Tambourine – Exodus 15:19-21
Samuel – Lamp – 1 Samuel 3:1-21
Jesse – Branch – Isaiah 11:1
David – Harp – 1 Samuel 16:14-23
Solomon – Crown – 1 Kings 3:3-28
Isaiah – Throne – Isaiah 6:1-8
Jeremiah – Tablets of Law – Jeremiah 31:31-34
Angels – Angel – Hebrews 1:1-14
Malachi – Trumpet – Malachi 3:1-4
Zechariah and Elizabeth – Baby – Luke 1:39-45
Mary – Angel – Luke 1:29-35
John the Baptist – River – Matthew 3:1-6
Joseph of Nazareth – Hammer/Saw – Matthew 1:18-25
Bethlehem – Star – Matthew 2:1-12
Birth of Christ – Crib – Luke 2:1-7
Thanks to Pinterest I discovered this wonderful up-cycled activity which was first showcased on Catholic Icing in December 2009. It’s a printable DIY Nativity for Kids. One word of caution this is not an hour long activity, it took us six hours to colour and glue/create.
What are some Nativity projects you have planned for this season ? Are you in need of some inspiration ? Have a look at these three boards
Chareen is a South African born, Kiwi living in beautiful Victoria, Australia with her Zoo Keeper husband Paul and their three Children Mr. T who is 19, Miss J who is 17 and Sir N who is 7. She has home educated her first two children for 15 years and just embarked afresh on the home school journey with her youngest son. She is passionate about supporting and encouraging home school Mom’s on their journey, is an avid lover of good books and great read alouds and enjoys scrap booking, card making and the Word of the Lord. She blogs about her journey over at Every Bed of Roses.