Monday, December 19, 2011

Another Christ in Christmas Activity

Repost from 2008-you can check out other ideas there as well. Another fun way to keep Christ the JOY of Christmas.

Shepherds Point of View

Here is another option to allow your children the THRILL OF CHRIST in Christmas!
Last year, after opening presents, we read the Christmas story in Luke 2. We listened how the shepherds were told about Jesus birth and went to find Him. Here is what to do:
Place angels in different rooms of your home like a scavenger hunt. I referred to the children as Shepherd Dolly (age 3) and Shepherd Billy (age 6) and we went on the hunt for Baby Jesus. The angels should be visible from one room to the other so they can spot them. Ours were more like a straight path with angels along the way to reinforce them. The end of the hunt lead us to our unfinished basement-damp and cold, probably like a stable. There, hanging from the ceiling, would be the final angel and under it was the Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. That year, behind the figures, we chose to cover and reveal an additional gift for each of the children.

This year, I think we will simply hide Mary, Joseph and the baby and allow the children the thrill of a scavenger hunt to find them. If you are like us and have a nice age gap from oldest to our youngest child, perhaps a group of Shepherds play first then a group of Wise Guys will follow stars and hunt after the older siblings. This would be especially fun for the olders to set up for the youngers after they have played.

Give it a try and add your own touches! Have fun as you teach the true meaning of Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Inn Keeper

A few years ago, My Dear and I along with Billy were gifted an amazing gift-a trip to Israel.

While on the trip we were able to see so much and learn even more! We of course went to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Interesting enough, any place thought to be holy has a church built on top of it. This was the believed birth place of Christ. It was heavily decorated and it was impossible to visualize it as a stable with all of the candles, paintings, and fancy lighting which was needed since we were in a basement. Yep, that is it in the picture above. The location was crowded and people were packed in for a Christmas carol and then lead out like an elementary field trip.

Our guide then took us next door. It was not crowded at all, actually our group was the only one there. It looked far more like a stable of that time would appear, stone and cave like. The guide then shared that most groups did not go there but he wanted us to see it. The place where we were was where the Inn would have been....(such a poet, arent' I! ) It is the place were the so called nasty Inn Keeper turned away the Christ Child--who would do that?

The hotel of that day were one large room that everyone slept in together-everyone staying in the hotel-everyone! It would be filled with noise and people drinking and partying. So when Mary and Joseph came to the door, the so called grumpy Inn Keeper had compassion for them. He did not want Mary to be in that environment while she had her baby. He wanted privacy for her. He wanted Joseph to be able to care for her without fearing for her and the baby in the setting. He wanted baby Jesus to have a "Silent Night."

I ran my fingers over the stone realizing this is more what it would have been like, like this Inn, cold and hard and how sweet a bed of straw must have been.

I thought about the gruff image I had of the Inn Keeper and my heart was filled with thanksgiving for the compassion he showed this young family. So it seems to me the Inn Keeper has gotten a bad wrap. He truly had the families best interest at heart. He had room for Jesus in his stable and likely in his heart too!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Keeping Christ in Christmas Activity

I hope to repost a few of my favorite Christmas activities that we have done over the past 10 years with our children. Billy and Dolly loved this one as preschoolers and now they are the ones helping Miss B. to enjoy it! I use this one every Christmas with the preschoolers I work with at church as well. They LOVE it!! Hope your little people do too!

In Mexico, it is tradition for children to march through the town carrying the figures of Mary and Joseph. They knock on doors and ask if anyone has rooms for the figures. They, of course do not. We did this with our children as well.

I walked down the hallway with the children while Billy carried Joseph and Dolly carried Mary. They knocked on each door in the hallway. Their quick daddy jumped behind each door to answer their knocks. He changed his approach and character with each knock. They asked if there was room for them to stay the night and each time, My Dear shared that no there was not. When they got close to the last door, My Dear said he did not have room but suggested they use the broom/linen closet. We made room for the figures in the closet and talked about how it was not as nice as the bedrooms but it would have to do, just like the stable so many years ago. As we were about to set the figures on the floor, Billy reached up and pulled a blanket down then sat the figures on it and Dolly stopped us and asked us to leave the light on. Their hearts were captured!

Christmas morning they ran up the hall not to race to the tree but to the broom closet where they found that Mary and Joseph now were joined by Baby Jesus. They called out, "They had their baby! Baby Jesus!" The real thrill of Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Gift of Reading

I am sure I have shared this a zillion times but can't help but share it again just incase someone might have missed it!

Last year at the end of the season, the children and I wrapped 25 Christmas books including a Bible. As of December 1st, we began to unwrap a book a day to read in preparation for Christmas. I know that sounds like a lot of books but you would be amazed how quickly they accumulate. Because the older kids realized last year that these are the same books, they are on the hunt for their favorites.

Miss B. wants the Little Critter book.
Dolly is watching out for the Legend of the Candy Cane.
Billy enjoys The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (which is also one of my favorites.)

I know there will be a day when they no longer have time for this silly tradition but as of now-it is a gift everyday-for them and for me!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Billy had a cumulative final exam in 4th grade! I was nervous for me and concerned that I had not prepared him for it. I left a couple of days for review and then we went for it. I handed him his test and watched his shoulders slump over. He was already defeated, or so he thought.

He then told me that if he scored within a certain percentage, he was going to pay me for being such a good teacher. Cute huh! I graded the test and Billy got 98%! I went to the bathroom to clean up an accident and here comes Billy putting a dollar bill in my pocket! He reminded me that I had earned it. I think I might hang that dollar on the wall by my desk!

To make the deal even sweeter, we went to the park and invited some friends to join us. We decided to play soccer and Billy and another little boy chose teams. Billy got to choose and he picked me first! It was a good mama day! I made a buck and made the team!

You better believe, I was sure to remind My Dear of how we met-he chose my roommate for his wiffle ball team and she said she would not come without me. He won me by default! But my boy, chose me first! Who would have thought a wiffle ball game 16 years ago would still make me smile! My Dear would have been nuts not to chose my athletic roommate.