We are definitely winding down in these final days. We still have one more night (and then Christmas Day) in the Jesse Tree LEGO Challenge
as well as finishing Jotham’s Journey
, but I’m not planning to blog any more until after Christmas.
Advent has been a wonderful time of celebration, and I think we’re all ready for its culmination. While I’m looking forward to lots of family time, I’m especially eager for our candlelight service at church tomorrow night. Our children have learned several carols during the last few weeks, and I hope we will all enjoy coming together with our church family to celebrate together.
O God, our loving Father, help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the songs of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with Grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. —Robert Louis Stevenson
: We were on book overload, so I decided to just do a family book today. We read Mary, Did You Know?
by Mark Lowry, illustrated by Phil Boatwright during the Jesse Tree LEGO Challenge
, and then Ian built an angel and a heart while we read from Jotham’s Journey
This weekend was crazy busy, so we didn’t keep up all our Advent activities. Yesterday instead of reading Christmas books our family went to our church’s compassion warehouse to pack groceries for needy families.
In the evening we went to a Christmas party and got home so late the boys weren’t up to building anything while we read from Jotham’s Journey
Tonight we got home late again after a long day, so we just let Arianna light all four candles on our Advent wreath while we read Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones and introduced the kids to “O Come, All ye Faithful.”
The Christmas Star by Marcus Pfister (for Arianna)
The Animals’ Christmas Carol illustrated by Helen Ward (for Elijah)
For the Jesse Tree LEGO Challenge we read Micah’s prophecy about Bethlehem, and then the boys built stables. Elijah had trouble settling on his design (I saw a few different versions), and by the time we’d finished reading Jotham’s Journey, he was back to only having a frame. Oh well. It’s the process, not the product, right?
I’ve started hearing protests every time I say we’re going to sing something other than “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” so tonight I decided just to go with it. They’re going to know this song really well, and if they just learn multiple verses of one traditional carol every year, they’ll still know a great deal by the time they’re grown.
The Animals’ Christmas Carol illustrated by Helen Ward (for Elijah-except he never opened it, so he’ll be getting it tomorrow instead)
The Drummer Boy by Ted Dekker (for Ian)
We went to a Hanukkah celebration with some friends from church tonight, which was a beautiful and fun time together. (The kids came home loaded up with chocolate coins, dreidels, and gifts.) It’s the second year we’ve done touched on Hanukkah with our family, and think I’d like to include it every year in our holiday celebrations.
We got home a little late but decided to to Bible time anyway. For the Jesse Tree LEGO Challenge we talked about the story of Daniel, and then Ian made a den for the lions. (Elijah got such a slow start, we’d finished reading in Jotham’s Journey by the time he was ready.)
The closing verse of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” really moved me tonight as we sang:
O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid every strife and quarrel cease
And fill the world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!
I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven lately, longing for that time when wolves and lambs will lie down together (as we talked about a couple nights ago), when there will be no more tears or sorrow. What a beautiful prayer we sang tonight: fill the world with heaven’s peace. Amen.
A Christmas Prayer by Amy Parker (for Arianna)
Josie’s Gift by Kathleen Long Bostrom
Elijah didn’t feel like building tonight while we read Jotham’s Journey, but Ian continues Jesse Tree LEGO Challenge with gusto. Tonight he built a ship, Jonah “inside” the whale, and a scene in the city of Nineveh.
Last night I got to spend the evening with a group of fellow homeschool moms, so I missed our Bible time and got home too late to write, so I’m covering two days tonight.
My Christmas Gift by Crystal Bowman (for Arianna)
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson (for Elijah yesterday)
Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt (for Elijah today)
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston (for Ian)
I missed seeing the boys’ creations for the Jesse Tree LEGO Challenge last night, but they took pictures of their roses and prophets for me.
Tonight the built wolves and lambs, which proved to be rather challenging!
We had to replace our first Advent candle today, since Jotham’s Journey is taking us a little longer to read than our devotions last year. We closed our evening with “Joy to the World.”
Oh Come Little Children by Anita Reith Stohs (for Arianna)
Penny’s Christmas Jar Miracle by Jason F. Wright (for Ian)
Tonight’s Jesse Tree LEGO Challenge was really tough. The boys were supposed to build a crown and a scepter, but it’s hard to make circles with LEGO bricks. Elijah was finished in about 30 seconds with a very simple crown and scepter. Ian took a little longer and (as usual) created a more elaborate scene, with a crown resting on a pillow next to the scepter.
Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate (for Arianna)
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado (for Elijah)
We skipped last night’s Jesse Tree LEGO Challenge, but we let Arianna hang the ornament for David’s anointing on the tree tonight when Ian hung the one about Elijah. The story of Elijah and the showdown on Mt. Carmel is one of my favorite parts of the Old Testament, so I enjoyed telling this one to the kids again. Ian built an elaborate altar with a trench full of water as I read through both nights’ readings in Jotham’s Journey.
The 12 Days of Christmas illustrated by Laurel Long (for Elijah)
Mary’s First Christmas by Walter Wangerin Jr.The 12 Days of Christmas
has beautiful illustrations and each page shows not only the items featured on that particular day, but also those already mentioned, so it becomes almost like an “I Spy” book with lots to look for. Elijah loves this type of book, and I know he’ll spend hours searching for everything over and over again.
Mary’s First Christmas is one of Ian’s favorites, but it’s pretty long, so it will take us a couple days to get through.
We attended a beautiful carol service tonight and got home late, so we didn’t do our Jesse Tree LEGO Challenge or read from Jotham’s Journey. I guess we’ll just double up tomorrow.