Welcome!

My family would love to share our Advent celebrations with you. We invite you to join us as we recall the beauty of the fulfilled promise of Christ's birth and anticipate His return.  Each year, my homeschooling family stops our regular lessons to spend the month of December in "Christmas School". The following pages share what we have enjoyed throughout the years. You'll find geography, history, crafts, meaningful traditions, and more. I try to never recommend anything that we have not personally tried and loved. Remember that these resources have been used throughout many years of Christmas School and that there is no way to fit it all in during one season. However, it's always fun to try!

I share many suggestions for books and movies and have linked to Amazon for your ease of use, but I do not receive any compensation from them. I do have some relevant ads in the sidebar which help supplement my family's income, if you'd like to check them out.


Advent 2013

Preparing for Advent

Jesse Tree








        Day One


        First Sunday of Advent

        The Prophecy Candle


        The prophecy candle is a call to listen.  Advent is a season of hope and expectancy, made deep and rich with the history of God’s word and His sovereignty.  The prophecy candle urges us to recall the prophecies of old and celebrate their fulfillment.  And just as He was prophesied to enter the world as a baby and then to die, He was also prophesied to come again.  God knew what He was doing then…and He knows what He’s doing now.


        Advent Reading


        Our family has tried different books through the years, but Jotham's Journey is the undisputed favorite, as well as its two sequels. My family decided this year to stop trying other books and to just take turns rereading the Jotham Series each year.  The story follows young Jotham who is separated from his family and experiences harrowing adventures, ultimately arriving in Bethlehem.  There are a few brief scenes that were intense for my younger children, but I simply reworded a line or two and went on when they were that age.  The story is broken down into sections to last throughout advent.  At the end of each section are verses for Advent and thoughts to ponder.  I cannot recommend it highly enough. This series of books gives us three years of stories to follow and everyone is anxious to start the rotation again the fourth year. We are going through the books for the third time now and no one is even close to being tired of them.



        If you are unable to find these books, here are some sources for Advent verses for each night:

        Also, some Jesse Tree books provide excellent devotions that can be read during your family’s Advent reading time. My family has enjoyed all three of these: 



        This year, John Piper is offering his Advent book, Good News of Great Joy, for FREE! It's also available on Vyrso for free.


         Devotions


        Here are some devotions you can view :


        Lutheran devotional downloads or email subscriptions
        Following the Star devotions (warning - site plays music upon opening)
        Christian Reformed Church devotionals

        Or you can make an entire study from these sources:

        A beautiful lesson in Advent from Homeschool in the Woods 

        A Christmas unit study with Oklahoma Homeschool

        Inductive Advent studies for the family



        Advent Verses


        Jesus said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’” Luke 24:44 (NIV)



        The Old Testament contains many prophecies foretelling the coming of Christ.  Many interpreters number them in the hundreds.  As we spend this season looking at those prophecies fulfilled, let us look with anticipation to the fulfilling of more to come.



        Jesse Tree


        My family likes to save Jesse Tree celebrations for weekday mornings, so this section will be empty during weekends.  But for preparation, see the books linked above. Also, for extra Jesse Tree activities, our favorite resource has been Homeschool In The Wood's History of Holidays. It includes much more than Christmas, but the artwork in the Jesse Tree ornaments is truly beautiful and very fun for the kids to create their own ornaments while reading the accompanying verses. The price is worth it just for the December holidays, but it includes an entire year's worth of excellent activities. 



        Here are some pages I've created for my own family to use for additional Jesse Tree activities:  

        Music


        O Come, O Come Emmanuel is a favorite advent hymn, for good reason.
        A brief history


        Lyrics:

        O come, O come, Emmanuel,

        And ransom captive Israel,

        That mourns in lonely exile here

        Until the Son of God appear.



        Refrain:

        Rejoice! Rejoice!

        Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.



        O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,

        Who orderest all things mightily;

        To us the path of knowledge show,

        And teach us in her ways to go.



        O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free

        Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;

        From depths of hell Thy people save,

        And give them victory over the grave.



        O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer

        Our spirits by Thine advent here;

        Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,

        And death’s dark shadows put to flight.



        O come, Thou Key of David, come,

        And open wide our heavenly home;

        Make safe the way that leads on high,

        And close the path to misery.



        O come, O come, great Lord of might,

        Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height

        In ancient times once gave the law

        In cloud and majesty and awe.



        O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,

        An ensign of Thy people be;

        Before Thee rulers silent fall;

        All peoples on Thy mercy call.



        O come, Desire of nations, bind

        In one the hearts of all mankind;

        Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,

        And be Thyself our King of Peace.





        During weekdays, there will be additional activities and suggestions, but these are omitted during weekends since most families will spend this time in worship.