Advent VersesMiracles of Jesus are foretold in Isaiah 35:5-6
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
And described in Matthew 9:35
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
And the appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. - Jonah 1:17
Today's ornament drawing is of a whale. The bible calls it a "big fish", so we don't know that it is a whale specifically. For a homemade ornament, a fish or ithacus would make a fine ornament.
Candles have been lit in celebration for centuries, but how about those Christmas lights? The first strand belonged to Edward H. Johnson, vice president of Edison Electic Light Company. Johnson decorated his tree with a string of red, white, and blue lights in 1882. Business began to incorporate the idea, but lights did not become affordable to the average citizen until the late 1920's. The early strands cost upwards of $300 per tree, looking more like $2000 in our current economy. Read more about the History of Christmas lights.
Light itself makes for an excellent science lesson. It is light that makes snow appear blue-ish to us. Did you ever wonder why snow doesn't look red?
Christmas Around the WorldA saint day popularly observed in Scandinavia is St. Lucy's Day, December 13th. To learn more about this popular Christmas tradition in Sweden, see - http://www.bry-backmanor.org/holidayfun/sweden.html
Visits are made to hospitals and nursing homes, sharing Pepparkakor, a kind of ginger snap cookie. A part of the traditional breakfast is the Risgrynsgrot, a porridge. One almond is put into the porridge pot. The person who finds the almond in his or her bowl is told they will be married within the next year.
The Christmas season begins in Sweden with observance of Advent. This is a big event, even aired on television as Jul kalendar. Lucia Day is celebrated in a big way, and some practice gift giving on this day. On Christmas Eve, some look forward to the tomte, or Christmas Gnome, to come out from his home underneath the floorboards to bring gifts. Others look forward to Father Christmas, called Tomten. All look forward to the food. A smorgasboard is offered with many courses and families enjoy a variety of favorite dishes, including the julskinka (Christmas ham.)
Celebrations linger to January 14th, known as St. Knut's Day after Canute IV, who ruled Denmark from 1080 - 1086 AD.
Hands On (cooking, coloring, creating)Try some experiments in "bending" light today.
Make a faux "stained glass" coloring page of a candle:
After coloring the following page with markers, use a cottonball to wipe oil onto the picture. Tape to a window for full effect.
Paint a suncatcher:
These can be purchased very cheaply at most chain stores, some as cheap as a quarter. Ours come from the local store-of-which-we-do-not-speak and cost $0.50 apiece. Glue is sold separately for $2.00, or you can spring for the glitter glue for $3.00. We hang them from our windows with suction-cup hooks.
Swedish paper hearts
Swedish paper chain
At this recipe site, scroll down for both Pepparkakor and Risgrynsgrot -
Kindle Unit Study on St. Lucia Day
MusicSwedish Christmas Carols
Read Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light, which was written in 1641.
Annika's Secret Wish is one of my family's absolute favorite Christmas stories:
Fun StuffEnjoy the following amazing light shows instead of a game today!
Tribute to our troops
7 Best Christmas Light Shows in one video:
Famous for its light display, but not child-friendly: