Day 16

Advent Verses

Psalm 22:18 tells us they will cast lots for his clothing:

They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

John 19:23-24 confirms that it was so:

 23When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

 24"Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it."
      This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said,
   "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." 
So this is what the soldiers did.

Jesse Tree

Ruth 1:16 utters those famous words: "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."  Today's passage tells us the story of Ruth, the outsider who married the kinsmen-redeemer named Boaz and went on to be a part of the lineage of Christ.  There are many, many excellent devotions dedicated to the theme of this story foreshadowing Christ as our kinsmen-redeemer.

Today's ornament could be a simple drawing of a shaft of wheat.  If you are creating your ornaments, you could use dried or fake wheat from the floral department of a craft supply store.

To Explore

Shepherds!  Shepherds have been watching over sheep for at least 6000 years now.  While the methods have altered somewhat, the basic role of the sheperd is to protect the sheep from predators and other dangers and to find missing sheep that have wandered off.   It is no wonder then that we know God as our Good Shepherd.

The shepherd's crook was used to reach sheep that were in precarious positions, to use as a weapon against predators, and to direct the sheep.

For a personal look into the life of a modern shepherding family, you'll enjoy this blog 

For a beautiful explanation of the role of a shepherd with comparison to our Good Shepherd, you must read this amazing book entitled  Why a Shepherd? by Bodie and Brock Thoene. In it, Bodie recalls her 3rd grade summer spent at a Shepherding Camp, learning how to care for sheep and much more.  It is a small little book and can easily be read in an afternoon, but is plenty interesting enough for children to enjoy as well and could be read as devotion-type readings throughout the week of the Shepherd's Candle.

Christmas Around the World

Speaking of sheep, there are nearly 120 million sheep in Australia. This makes 10 times more sheep than people!  However, modern methods of sheep rearing in Australia have greatly decreased the need for traditional shepherding.

Christmas in Australia looks very similar to Christmas in the US, though it is often celebrated in 90 degree weather. Christmas falls during Australia's summer, so you'll not find snow here!

On Christmas Eve, many families enjoy Carols By Candlelight, which are outdoor concerts playing Christmas music while families lay out on blankets on a warm Christmas Eve night.  Many families attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

Christmas dinners usually incorporate BBQ or picnic foods, though some still stick to the traditional turkey regardless of the heat.

Most still call him Santa, but some Australians have fun telling the tale of the Swag Man (a term for a transient worker) who brings gifts on his four-wheeler.

You can read more in this excellent site for everything Christmas in Australia.

A page of Australian Christmas links 

Hands On

Handprint lamb 

Cottonball sheep

I haven't found a link and I haven't tried it myself, but on my list to try is a sheep made out of marshmallows with pretzel sticks for legs.  If you try this, please share!

For some interesting Australian Christmas recipes, you can try visiting The Koala, but you if you are like me, you'll need a translator to actually cook with them.  Very fun to read though! Copha? Punnet? Or my favorite: "800g tins of fruit/tomatoes will do".  Tomatoes if you're out of fruit!

Enjoy an Australian Summer Christmas Meal



While Shepherds Watched 

Veggie Tale's version of While By My Sheep:



The Crippled Lamb
The Greatest Shepherd of All
One Small Lost Sheep
One Starry Night
The Little Shepherd's Christmas
The Little Shepherd Girl
Certain Poor Shepherds
A Shepherd's Gift



Shaun the Sheep has a Christmas movie. Here is a sample of it:

My girls love watching Heidi at Christmas. Heidi's Grandfather is a goat herder, not a shepherd, but it's still somewhat fitting. 

A 1947 Outback Christmas Adventure: Bush Christmas