Advent VersesMatthew 2:14-15 says itself that it is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Hosea 11:1 and being called out of Egypt.
Jesse TreeThis verse is traditionally shared much earlier in the month, but it inspires a very appropriate anticipation any time of year. Today's verse invokes hope and expectancy as we prepare our hearts for His coming. When you read it, can you picture the young knight, standing at the castle wall, ready and waiting?
I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give...
Today's ornament could be a drawing of a watchtower or a telescope. A non-drawing ornament could be a pair of binoculaurs, though the Barbie/GI Joe sized binoculaurs would certainly work best.
To ExploreThe creche! This beautiful symbol of the nativity is appears in various forms. Some are as a simple one-piece ceramic representation of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Others are intricate and ornate, representing not only the stable and inhabitants, but the surrounding town of Bethlehem. In Mexico, particularly, the nativity collection is added to each year in many homes, branching out to include even wagons of fruit in a Bethlehem marketplace!
The first documented nativity was constructed in the year 1223 by St. Francis of Assissi. The holy family was life-sized and carved from wood and placed in a stable with real animals.
For a detailed history of the creche, visit - http://www.friendsofthecreche.org/historyCreche.html
Christmas Around the World
In Italy, the nativity scene is known as the Presepio. It is usually carved in wood or cast in plaster and full of detail. For more on the presepio, read - http://www.amoretravelguides.com/blog/the-italian-nativity-the-presepio.php
Rather than looking forward to Santa, Italian children look for La Befana who brings goodies to place in shoes left out on Christmas morning.
For more on Italian Christmas Traditions:
Hands On (cooking, coloring, creating)Try Panettone, an italian bread with fruit - http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Panettone-I/Detail.aspx
Prepare a traditional Italian Christmas Even dinner known as The Feast of the Seven Fishes - http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Feast-of-the-Seven-Fishes/Detail.aspx
My four year old made this nativity in Sunday School and was SO proud! - http://www.first-school.ws/activities/bible/nativity1.htm
Manger Scene Safety Pin bead jewelry - http://familycrafts.about.com/library/projects/blspbabymanger.htm
Adorable recycled nativity scene! http://catholicicing.blogspot.com/2009/12/diy-printable-nativity-for-kids.html
Consider setting out a nativity set for little hands. Be sure to avoid sets made from PVC for those with children young enough to still try putting Baby Jesus in their mouths.
MusicWelcome to Our World, by Chris Rice (it will play immediately upon opening) - http://popup.lala.com/popup/504684650715359016
Lyrics to You Came Down (scroll down for English translation) - http://www.mamalisa.com/blog/italian-christmas-song-tu-scendi-dalle-stele-you-come-down-from-the-stars-2/
MoviesNot at all related to today's topics, but the Home Alone movies are fun!
A remake of the Italian Christmas movie Stanno tutti bene, called Everybody’s Fine that I have not previewed and doubt that it could be suitable for children: