Tag Archives: family devotions

Long Story Short: David and Goliath

David and Goliath

The two armies (and their champions) face off under Ian’s watchful eye.

It’s been a while since I posted anything about our journey through Long Story Short by Marty Machowski, but we had so much fun with David and Goliath recently that I thought I’d post about it.  There are lots of ideas floating around online for preschool lessons to go along with the story (like my previous post from the last time we covered it), but not so many for elementary age kids.  This time around I tried not to repeat everything we’d done before.  We did pull out some of our favorite activities (like painting a life-sized Goliath) though, while still adding a few new ones Ian wasn’t ready for before.  Our discussion was also a little deeper this time, since Long Story Short shows how every story points to Jesus.  Just as God used David to help Israel achieve a seemingly impossibly victory against an overpowering enemy, He also used Christ to conquer sin and death, something we could never accomplish on our own.  I love how the Lord used David’s experiences as a youth in the field (trusting the Lord to help him kill the lion and the bear) to prepare him for an event he never could have imagined.  We told the boys we never know how God might be preparing us for something in the future, and that even as children their faithfulness and trust in Him can help them be ready to be used in a might way.

The highlight of our week was definitely painting Goliath.  We measured out 9 feet on a role of paper and then I drew a basic outline for the kids to paint.  We took it outside and then I left them to their fun.


We hung the completed painting in our living room and left it up for a couple weeks so anyone who came over could admire it.  I considered making “slings” like David’s, but I was afraid the boys would just get frustrated by how difficult it was to aim, so we stuck with just throwing rolled up socks at Goliath.


Along with measuring Goliath’s height, we did another measurement activity that was suggested in Long Story Short.  The Bible says the head of Goliath’s spear weighed 600 shekels, or about 15 pounds (1 Samuel 17:7).  We piled books on a scale until we had a stack that weighed 15 pounds, and then I placed the stack in Ian’s arms so he could feel how heavy just the head of Goliath’s spear had been.  Ian could hardly hold it long enough to take a picture, and we talked about how strong Goliath must have been to carry such a heavy weapon.

Goliath1   Goliath2

Another new thing we did was print out and color two little books (“David, The Lion, and the Bear” and “David is Brave”) from Lambsongs(Search the page to find the titles.)  They were easy enough for Ian to read, and he really enjoyed coloring them in and having his own books.  (They print two on a page, so Elijah also got a copy, though he didn’t have the attention span to finish his coloring.)    Goliath5

The boys loved our “Listening Lesson” for this story and requested it frequently, even wanting to sing the songs to Daddy at night during Bible time.  Here’s what was on our iPod playlist:

It can be challenging to find ways to keep our Bible lessons “fresh” when covering such familiar stories, but I think overall we had a successful week.  Ian’s already asking me about the next time we do this story and sharing his plans for painting another Goliath.

Battling “the Wants” by Focusing on Advent


Growing up I always felt like Christmas was a magical time, and as an adult I strove to recreate that feeling to no avail.  What I finally realized this year was that the feeling I felt as a child was almost entirely about the Christmas morning gift orgy.  Our one Christ-related tradition was attending Mass at my father’s church on Christmas Eve (the one time of year we ever went), and for me even that was about presents, since I was allowed to open one gift that night if I behaved well in church.  I saw that hour as a trial I had to endure to reach my goal of presents.  My childhood mindset was:

 Christmas = Present Day.

Can anyone relate?

This was the first in many years that I was again overwhelmed with a sense of wonder.  I think the main difference was that we chose to focus on Advent rather than Christmas.  As a child, the only thing I knew about Advent was that my aunt sent us an “Advent calendar” every year, which for me was essentially a countdown until Present Day.  I opened each door with increasing anticipation, knowing I was one day closer to the bliss of satisfying my rather serious case of ” the wants.”

Very little of our celebration this year was about presents on December 25th.  Instead we used the 4 weeks prior to Christmas to celebrate the turning point of human history.  We immersed our family in the story of Christ’s birth, beginning with the promise God made back in Genesis 3:15 about Eve’s seed bruising the head of the serpent.  We talked about blessing others and showing love, just as God showed us His love by sending Jesus.  Our whole family went caroling in two retirement homes and spent time just chatting with several residents afterward.  We had fun making spice dough ornaments and candy cane reindeer and giving them away to special friends and relatives.  We talked about various Christmas traditions and how they point us toward God and remind us of the Christmas story.

Our nightly family “Bible Time” around the Advent wreath became everyone’s favorite part of each day.  The boys took turns helping light the appropriate candles and blowing them out after we sang together.  Ian’s favorite song this season was “O Come O Come Emmanuel and he requested it every night, even when it wasn’t the song suggested in our devotional book (We Light The Candles by Catharine Brandt).  On Christmas Eve after the candlelight service at church, our extended family joined us for dinner and our final night with the Advent wreath.  The boys were so excited about finally lighting the Christ candle in the middle!  We read Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones, which portrays the excitement of all Creation at the wonder that “the one who made us has come to live with us.”  The angel choir proclaims, “It’s time!  He’s come!  At last!  He’s here!”  It’s a wonderful book that captures the essence of Christmas as the climax of Advent, and it was the perfect way to end our season.

The result of all of this celebration is that we spent very little time talking about gifts.  Last year Ian was constantly poring through the numerous catalogs that kept arriving in the mail, which really captured his heart and caused him to focus on his “wants.”  I was so tired of hearing “I want ___,” “Can we get ___ sometime?” and so on that I finally threw all the catalogs away.  This year when they started arriving months ago I looked through them on my own for gift ideas and then got them out of the house.  I bought most of our gifts months in advance so I too would be able to focus on the wonder of Christ’s Incarnation rather than Present Day.  I know some people like to wrap up everything from toothbrushes to socks to make Christmas morning a little more exciting, but I felt that was counter to what we were trying to accomplish.  So I didn’t stuff stockings with everyday items I would have bought for my kids anyway, because that felt like it would make Christmas morning all about unwrapping presents.  (We did plenty of gift opening, but it almost felt like an addendum to a wonderful season of celebration, rather than being the main event.)  At our cousins’ house we read the Christmas story from Luke 2 before having our meal and progressing to gift-opening.  There was just so much more to Christmas than Present Day!

My dad’s birthday is on the 25th, so as we were about to dive into our breakfast someone asked if we were going to sing happy birthday.  My dad pretended to look surprised and said, “Whose birthday is it?  Jesus’?  Well, did you sing happy birthday to Jesus?”  To which Elijah promptly answered very seriously, “Yes, we did,” remembering the “Happy Birthday, Jesus” party with our homeschool group two weeks ago.  It had been just one more part of our month-long celebration, and I loved that Elijah knew it was all connected.

All in all, we had a wonderful Advent and Christmas.  I am so thankful that my children were able to enjoy the true wonder of the season by setting aside their “wants” and marveling in the miracle of Christ’s birth.  I’m already full of ideas for next year, and I hope we can continue to make Advent a meaningful part of our family tradition.




Long Story Short: The Tabernacle

I was kind of surprised when I realized we were going to spend a whole week on the Tabernacle as we journeyed through the Bible with Long Story Short by Marty Machowski.  However, as we went through the five days of devotions (plus one reading the story in The Gospel Story Bible, also by Machowski) I realized what an important concept it is to understanding the Old Testament.  The Tabernacle was God’s dwelling place among His people, a foreshadowing of Jesus as Immanuel, “God with us.”  Sure, He had interacted with individuals before, and He had shown His power to the people through the plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and His provision for them in the desert, but this was more than that.  This was His actual Presence being with them.  What a powerful thing!  Imagine living in the camp of the Israelites and seeing God’s magnificent tent there in the midst of the thousands of other tents that housed the people, knowing that the almighty Creator of the universe was dwelling there with you.

This week’s devotions probably would have been really hard to get through without the use of visual aids.  If the kids were a little older, I would have been tempted to buy a model of the Tabernacle to put together, but instead I decided to get a Tabernacle felt set for our flannel board.  Unfortunately, one piece was too big for our boards!  So we headed off to the fabric store for some black flannel and made our own big board.  It ended up working out well because we could have two boards out, for both the outer courtyard and the inside of the tabernacle.


The other resource we used, which I highly recommend, is the Rose Guide to the Tabernacle.  It is not a children’s book, but it is a wonderful resource for personal study, and there are many pictures that are helpful explaining this passage of Scripture to children (or anyone!). We used the felt pieces and/or the Rose Guide every night.  It was so beneficial for the boys to have something tangible to hold and look at as we read through long descriptive passages of the tabernacle and the high priest’s garments that might otherwise have been hard-pressed to hold their attention.

I didn’t have the energy to come up with anything elaborate for the boys’ Bible notebook pages, so I printed up dot-to-dot on a page with our Bible verse.  (Note I did not say memory verse.  We’re not that together yet!  I really want to get back to memorizing Scripture with the boys, but I’m considering going a new route, not connected to our Bible stories, and we’re not up and running.)  However, the week flew by without us ever doing the page.  Will we ever get to it?  I’d give it a 50/50 chance.  I’m trying to let things go and just move on.

Long Story Short: The 10 Commandments

We just finished up a great week (plus a few extra days!) on the Ten Commandments.  Even Elijah (3 1/2) worked diligently toward memorizing them, and both boys enjoyed the various activities we did throughout the week in addition to our nightly Bible Time with Long Story Short by Marty Machowski.  We broke out our flannel board set for the first time since our move, and all three kids enjoyed playing with it throughout the week.  I’ve put it on a low table in our schoolroom where they can all reach it, and pretty much every day I caught a glimpse of at least one of them acting out the story with the little felt figures.  (Okay, so Arianna just liked collecting the people and carrying them around, but she’ll get there.)

I really considered buying a 10 Commandments Project Pack from CurrClick, but since I only planned on spending a week on the topic I decided to just stick with activities I could find for free online.  BibleStoryPrintables.com has a lot of fun ideas to print (and in our case laminate so I can reuse them with the younger children).  I pretty much stuck with printables from their site so that the wording would be the same on all our activities.  I used the bookmarks as a reading tool.  They print four on a page, so I printed out one set and laminated them.  Every day at lunch time, each of us got one (even Arianna) and we read through them together.  We worked on memorizing two commandments each day.

I also printed out the sequencing cards and number cards for a matching activity.  (There’s a typo on “adultery,” but I just used a black marker to fix it.) The boys really liked using our pocket chart to have the cards all out in front of them.  We just worked on putting them in order and matching the pictures with the written commandments, but they’d also be great for playing a memory matching game.

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The last thing I printed out was the file folder game.  The game board has typos on “misuse” and “adultery”, but it was pretty simple to fix them by opening the image in Paint, cutting and pasting the letters into the correct places, then copying the corrected image into Word.  (I also found a second game  from The Catholic Toolbox, but I’m saving that one for when my kids are a bit older.)  Next time maybe I’ll plan ahead more and use some of the activities from Oriental Trading Company related to the ten commandments.

After several months’ hiatus, we finally added a page to the boys’ Bible notebooks.  I looked for a new idea, but I just couldn’t find anything I liked as much as the one I did with Ian two years ago (see my post “Train Up a Child (10 Commandments pt.2)) so we just did it again.  I forgot Elijah’s not a big fan of finger painting, however, so we barely got this one out of him.  He does really like numbers and putting things in order, so after the first day he enjoyed pasting on the commandments.

P1010486   Ten Commandments 2

Each day we watched one of the episodes from the Kids’ Ten Commandments DVDs.  (There are five episodes, each covering two commandments, so it worked perfectly with our schedule.)  The boys REALLY liked these videos.  They do a wonderful job illustrating each of the commandments through a story about a young Israelite boy living in the desert.  Highly recommended!

Our “Listening Lesson”

Long Story Short: Moses

I hesitated to even write this post, since we did very little during our study of Moses from birth through the Exodus outside of reading each night from Long Story Short or The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski.  This season reinforced how much I appreciate the depth of these resources.  Machowski points out both the obvious and more subtle connections of the Old Testament stories to Jesus, and he presents them in such a way that even my boys, only 3 and 5, are able to understand and articulate.

The reason I did decided to go ahead and do a short post about the several weeks we spent on this section of Exodus is that I want to keep a record of the resources I’ve come across.  Because we were caught up in the chaos of packing, moving, and settling in, we pretty much just stuck with picture books and videos to supplement our Bible Time reading every night.  So here are my lists, plain and simple:

Picture Books


We finally got back to our “Listening Lesson” during Week 33 “God Provides Food and Water for Israel.”  Here’s what was on our playlist:

Long Story Short: summary of our weeks on Joseph

Contrary to what my recent blogging record implies, we’ve been plugging away at our Bible lessons as usual.  I continue to be so thankful for Marty Machowski’s Long Story Short.  During a season of minimal schooling, I am confident our children are still getting a steady diet of Bible knowledge thanks to the thoughtful devotions in this book.  I haven’t been doing a lot of extras, just our nightly devotions and a “listening lesson” for during the day, which we primarily use as we drive around town.  Even so, as we’ve gone through the last few weeks on the story of Joseph’s life, both boys have learned a lot, and Ian especially has it firmly engraved upon his heart.

The more we read about Joseph, the more in awe I am of how God works in our lives.  It really is an incredible story.  God took something horrible (broken family relationships, near murder, selling a brother into slavery and deceiving their father) and used it to save countless lives during the famine that came years later.  And one of the pivotal events of the Bible, the Exodus, wouldn’t have happened Joseph (and later his family) hadn’t gone down to Egypt.

The story lends itself to so many discussions, and we often used our extra night (the book includes 5 devotions each week, plus we do one night in The Gospel Story Bible, also by Machowski) to read through what the Bible said about pride, trust, forgiveness, etc.  I used Parenting With Scripture to easily look up verses on each topic, but a Child Training Bible would also be a good tool.  (I just didn’t want to take the time to flip through all the verses to pick out which ones to read with the boys, so Parenting With Scripture was handy because the verses were all laid out on one page.)

Go-Along Books The story of Joseph is found in most children’s Bible storybooks.  We read it in several over the weeks we spent on the story, but I also really liked this book: Joseph by Brian Wildsmith.  It is a thorough retelling of the story, accompanied by beautiful illustrations.  Ian especially liked the hieroglyphics (thank you, Little Einsteins, for introducing them!)

Bible Notebook I have to admit, we haven’t been working on a memory verse, but we did talk about Romans 8:28 so I put it on our Bible notebook page so the boys could review it whenever they look through their books.  For the craft, I considered repeating what we did the last time Ian and I talked about Joseph, but I didn’t want both his notebook pages to be the same.  Instead I just had them color on coffee filters and then use an eyedropper of water to help the colors spread out.  We cut out two wedges for the arms and then bunched the rest up for the coat and glued them on top of people we drew.  Ian thinks they look like dresses.  I have to agree.   At least they’re colorful!



We watched several related videos over the course of our study:

  • Joseph: King of Dreams DreamWorks took a few liberties with the story (mostly about the timing of Rachel’s death, how long Joseph was in prison, etc.), but overall our whole family enjoyed watching this together and comparing it to the biblical account.
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat While the cover of the DVD touts it as the “classic family musical,” THIS IS ONE TO KEEP THE REMOTE HANDY ON!  We completely skipped the scene with Potiphar’s wife because the costumes were so inappropriate.  There were a few other scenes that had some questionable costuming as well but I let them pass because it wasn’t as obvious and Ian didn’t seem to notice.  It’s really too bad, because the music itself is very family friendly (with the exception of Potiphar’s wife saying, “Come and lie with me, love,” but since that’s pretty much what the Bible records, I’m not going to complain).
  • Veggie Tales: The Ballad of Little Joe Ian has seen this one before, but I don’t think he’d ever realized it’s (loosely!) based on the story of Joseph.  This time he definitely caught the similarities.

I had so many things to use in our “Listening Lessons” to go with Joseph.  I broke it down and tried to only use the ones that specifically applied to the part of the story we were focused on each week.  Here’s a summary of all the things we listened to:

Ian and I closed out our time on Joseph by going to a live theater performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (one we had been assured was appropriate for kids).  It’s a fast-paced show, so it kept his attention the whole time.  We really enjoyed our special “date” together! Oh well.


Long Story Short: Jacob and Esau/Jacob’s Lie

Over the last couple weeks, our devotions in Long Story Short by Marty Machowski have been about Jacob and Esau.  These are some of those stories where the Bible just tells us what happened without passing judgment on the main characters, which leaves us with a bit of explaining to do when it comes to teaching our children.  The stories are found in Genesis 25 and 27, and in them you’ll find multiple instances of lying, parents playing favorites with their children, and a mother encouraging her child to deceive his father at the expense of another child.  What do we make of all this? I think the answer comes in the chapters still ahead of us.  Jacob was the one through whom God would keep His promise of a Savior, but he wasn’t chosen because of his own righteousness..  Jacob may have been deceitful in this story, but as he gets older, God works in his life and changes him (though he too plays favorites with his children, and that brings plenty of drama of its own).

Since there are only five devotions for each week in Long Story Short, we spent one of our extra nights reading the story in The Gospel Story Bible (also by Machowski) and the other going through Bible verses about honesty (which Eric looked up easily in Parenting With Scripture by Kara Durbin–see my review from last year).

Go-Along Books

We spent a lot of time focusing on how not to follow Jacob and Esau’s example.  Two books I love are We’re Very Good Friends, My Brother and I  and Brothers Forever by P.K. Hallinan.  They’re very similar, so I wouldn’t recommend getting both, but I think every family with two or more boys should read at least one of these.  (I think the first one is my favorite.  I actually bought a second copy after our first got a bit of damage because it’s one I really want to keep around.)  Reading these led to some good discussions on how brothers should treat each other, which then led to a discussion of our memory verse (the “Golden Rule”): “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12.

Bible Notebook

For our notebook page on this story, I adapted this idea for making a painting/print of the twins.  Then instead of coloring the men, we just glued hair onto Esau (which we had saved from the boys’ haircuts the night before).  It was messy(!) but the boys really got a kick out of using their own hair.



I was surprised by how many activities flowed naturally out of these stories.

The first week (Genesis 25:19-34) we compared the descriptions of Jacob and Esau (physical appearance, occupations, personalities, etc.), looked at the difference between Daddy’s “hairy” arm and Mommy’s “smooth” one, and fixed lentils to go with dinner like the stew Jacob traded for Esau’s birthright.

The second week (Genesis 27) we talked about the “5 Senses” and looked for the part each played in the story.

  • Sight (Isaac’s eyes are “dim” and he can’t see well enough to know who’s who.)
  • Hearing (Isaac remarks that “the voice is Jacob’s,” which confuses him because of what his other senses tell him.)
  • Taste (Rebekah prepares goat meat with special spices so it will taste like Esau’s hunting catch.)
  • Smell (Jacob wears Esau’s robe, which leads Isaac to comment, “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed.”
  • Touch (Rebekah covers the smooth skin of Jacob’s hands and neck with the goatskin so he will feel hairy like Esau.)

In addition to discussion, here are some of the 5 senses activities I found: trace and color pages at Making Learning Fun, a mini-book at Kidzone, page at Homeschool Share.

There are some activity pages at DLTK-Bible related to the story as well.

We also used spent time in prayer during Bible time blessing each child.


Both boys enjoyed reading/listening to The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule Kindle edition (also available in paperback).

Our “Listening Lesson” was a big hit this week (though I’m not sure why).  Ian requested it at least once a day:

Long Story Short: God Provides a Wife for Isaac

Last week we jumped back into our Bible lessons with the Long Story Short devotional by Marty Machowski.   I am amazed at what our boys have learned since we started going through this book in August.  Even though it sometimes seems like Elijah’s not quite old enough to listen and participate, when questioned, we discover he’s absorbed an incredible amount.

This week we read the story of Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24.  It’s a beautiful story of God moving to work out all the details in response to prayer.  Abraham gave his servant a challenging assignment in sending him far away to find a girl willing to come back to Canaan, but the servant went to God asking for His help in finding a wife for Isaac, and “before he had finished speaking” (verse 15), along came Rebekah, who quickly fulfilled the sign for which the servant had asked.  Throw in the fact the she is “very attractive” (verse 16), and that Isaac loves her pretty much immediately, and you’ve got a romantic story worthy of a chick flick.

Extra Activities

In addition to our nightly devotions, we found a lot of extended learning opportunities:


Abraham’s servant took ten camels along with him on his journey (verse 10).  Elijah enjoyed singing about them to the tune of “10 Little Indians.”  We enjoyed learning about camels  from a 99-cent Kindle Book 14 Fun Facts About Camels as well as from a lapbook at HomeSchoolShare .  (We didn’t do the lapbook, just enjoyed some of the information in it.)


The whole concept of a well is pretty foreign to these modern American boys.  I found this Thirstin’s Water Cycle Adventure page from the EPA site really helpful for explaining what a well is and talking about the water cycle.  (I also liked this water cycle website.)


The Person I Marry: Things I'll Think About Long Before Saying "I Do" (Bright Future Books)We discussed marriage in our culture versus arranged marriages.  I don’t remember how it came up, but I had a great opportunity to talk about how love is a choice we make about how to treat the other person, regardless of our feelings.  We also talked about how Abraham sent the servant far away to find the right girl because the women in Canaan worshipped other gods, and importance of marrying someone who knows God.  Marriage may seem like an odd topic to talk about with preschool boys, but I want to plant seeds so they will be able to make wise choices, and this Bible story provided a logical connection. I really like the book The Person I Marry by Gary Bower.  One day at lunchtime I read it to the boys and we talked about some of the pages.

Bible Notebook

100_8609Our Bible notebook page wasn’t necessarily about Isaac and Rebekah, but focused on how Isaac (and his family) trusted in God to provide the right wife.  For our Bible verse, I used Proverbs 3:5-6 (“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”)  I found a free clipart image of a childlike bride and groom and put white circles over the faces.  Then I printed out pictures of the boys faces and question marks for them to paste on the circles.

Our “Listening Lesson”

Here’s what was playing on our iPod as we drove around town:

My *plans* for Advent

This week I’m scurrying about to finishing prepping for the Advent activities I have planned for December.  Since we put our Long Story Short devotions on hold before Thanksgiving and are planning to do Truth in the Tinsel starting next week, I was at a loss as far as how to fill our evening Bible Time this week.  Then, at long last, the answer arrived in the mail. Old Story New is Marty Machowski’s sequel to Long Story Short, going through 78 stories of the New Testament and pointing to the gospel through each one.  As an introduction to Advent, I decided to use the first week from Old Story New, on “The Birth of Jesus Foretold.”  (Then it will go on the shelf for another year or so while we finish up with Long Story Short.)  That should take us right through the last day of November, and then we’re diving in!

For the last couple years the boys have enjoyed opening the doors on our wooden Advent calendar and sticking the magnetic pieces on the picture of the stable.  This year I’m planning to do that each morning and to also read from Advent Storybook: 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas I also plan to make our Truth in the Tinsel ornaments during the day and then present them to Daddy each night, using the readings for Bible Time. (The boys can’t wait to start this. They’re enjoying falling asleep to the glow of the 4-foot tree with colored lights I set up in their room, and they’re eager to decorate it!)

Finally, we have SO many Christmas books, I was afraid they would all end up in a basket and we would never get to most of them because the boys would keep choosing only their favorites.  So I decided to present them with one each day, which we will read before putting it into our basket.  My sister-in-law’s family introduced me to the idea of cloth gift bags, so I plan use one to let them “unwrap” a book each day in December.  Many of our books coordinated with the topics from Truth in the Tinsel, so I wrote up a list of all twenty-four days and selected books that would be appropriate.  For some days there weren’t any good matches, so I used those as a chance to get in some favorites that wouldn’t fit anywhere else.  For a couple days I included two, either because they were simple board books or because I couldn’t decide.  (Yes, I am a bookaholic, though I only purchased a few this year.  Most were treasures I’d picked up at used book stores, gifts, books I bought last year, or oldies either from my childhood or passed on from Grandma’s Kindergarten after retirement.) I haven’t even read some of the new ones yet, but I’m excited to share them all with my children this year.  Here’s what we’ll be reading up through Christmas (books in parentheses have nothing to do with the topic of the day):

  1. Light – The Light of Christmas by Dandi Daley Mackall and A Star for Jesus by Crystal Bowman
  2. Kingdom – (The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving by Dandi Daley Mackall)
  3. Zechariah – (The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston)
  4. Gabriel – (Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson)
  5. Mary – Baby Jesus is Born by Juliet David
  6. Mary/Elizabeth – Mary’s Treasure Box by Carolyn Walz Kramlich
  7. Song – Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones
  8. Sun – (The Light of Christmas by Richard Paul Evans)
  9. Joseph – Jacob’s Gift by Max Lucado
  10. Dream – (Mouskin’s Christmas Eve by Edna Miller)
  11. Jesus’ Name – Jesus, Me and My Christmas Tree by Crystal Bowman
  12. CensusThe Innkeeper’s Daughter by Jill Briscoe
  13. Bethlehem – Oh Come, Little Children by Anita Reith Stohs
  14. Stable – This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotton and Tell Me the Christmas Story by Joni Walker
  15. Manger – Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck and The Last Straw by Paula Palangi
  16. Clothes – “The Christmas Spider by Marguerite de Angeli, in an anthology called I Love Christmas (The spider’s web covers Baby Jesus. I think it’s a similar story to The Little Spider by Sigmund Brouwer)
  17. Sheep – The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
  18. Angels – Christmas Angels by Crystal Bowman
  19. Shepherd – The Littlest Shepherd by Ron Mehl, Jr.
  20. Temple – Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt
  21. Star – The Christmas Star by Marcus Pfister
  22. Wise Men – We Three Kings traditional carol illustrated by Gennady Spirin
  23. Gifts – Baboushka and the Three Kings by Ruth Robbins
  24.  Cross – The Candymaker’s Gift: The Inspirational Legend of the Candy Cane by David and Helen Haidle and J is for Jesus by Crystal Bowman

Just as a final note: these are my plans.  This is pretty much all we’re doing for school through Christmas, aside from some Christmas music.  Knowing how things go, this probably won’t all happen the way I’m envisioning it.  But I have a plan, and that’s always a good place to start, right? 🙂

Merry Christmas!

UPDATE: Each year I’ve tweaked this list a little as I’ve found books that fit the daily themes better.  Also, as my kids got older, our library grew and I divided the books for older and younger ones.  For more age-specific suggestions, check out my posts “25 CHRISTmas Books for Preschooler” and “25 CHRISTmas books for Older Children.”

Bible Time: Thanksgiving Devotional

We’re taking a break from our normal nightly devotional and instead use our Bible Time to focus on the holidays through a Scriptural lens.  Last night we started using a Thanksgiving Devotional  I wrote for this week and thought I’d share it in case any other families could be blessed by it.  I only wrote up six days because I’m sure we’ll take one night off (we’re celebrating 2 nights in a row with different parts of the family).   It’s nothing fancy (maybe next year I’ll expand on it a little), but I’d thought I’d share  anyway.

In addition to Scripture passages, I used three books from our Thanksgiving collection (see below), but they’re not essential.  You could easily just use the Bible readings each night.  (I used the ESV, which uses “steadfast love” for the Hebrew word “chesed,” which we talked about the first night. Other than that, the translation shouldn’t matter too much.)  One night does talk a bit about the Pilgrims, but any basic book about their story (or just telling the story yourself) would work.


Happy Thanksgiving!


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