Day 3

Advent Verses
This week's prophecy candle is also known as the Hope candle. Hope is unmistakable as we continue throughout the week to read prophecies from the Old Testament and revel in their fulfillment.  We are not only celebrating the birth of a baby.  We are celebrating that this baby grew to be a man who laid down His life as a sacrifice for our sins and that through His death and resurrection, we have access to eternal life with Him.  Without this gift, we would have no hope. We also look with hope to the fulfillment of His promise of a second-coming and rejoice that He always keeps His promises!

Isaiah 61:1 tells us He would preach good news and Luke 4:14-21 confirms this fulfillment.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

    because the Lord has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

    to proclaim freedom for the captives

    and release from darkness for the prisoner
Jesse Tree 
Today, we go back to the beginning.  Our verse is Genesis 1:1

 "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

Today's ornament can represent this verse with a drawing of the earth.  If you are hanging symbols rather than drawings, you could decorate a bouncy-ball with paint, marker, or painted paper mache to look like a miniature earth.  Tack a string into the rubber ball with a push-pin to hang from your Jesse Tree.

To Explore: Advent Calendars

Advent calendars have been around for over a hundred years as a fun way to count down to Christmas Day.  The modern Advent Calendar comes in many shapes and sizes ranging from beautifully ornate to amazingly simple.  Styles range from gold guild to toilet paper rolls wrapped in paper.  Chocolate Advent Calendars are a fun twist!   A brief history can be found at A Wooden Advent Calendar.

Christmas Around the World: Germany

We owe many of our modern Christmas celebrations to the Germans, who have celebrated Christmas with it’s Christian purpose and family focus probably longer than anyone in the world.

Christmas celebrations were actually banned for a long time in Christian communities because of their wild, pagan celebrations.  Even up to the time of our American Revolution, Christmas was not commonly celebrated by devout German Christians. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Germany, customs began to change. England began to adopt the family-friendly Christmas customs of Germany and the trend spread.

An interesting German Epiphany tradition is to mark three letters with chalk over doorways for protection: C, M, and B; standing for the “Three Kings” Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.  However, even many Germans might be surprised to discover that these three letters originated with the Latin phrase for “Christ bless this house” — “Christus mansionem benedicat”.

Some German children believe it is the Christ child and not Santa who “brings gifts”.  Our name for Kris Kringle likely originated with the German term “Christkindl”, meaning ‘Christ Child’.

Hands On (cooking, coloring, creating)
Today would be a great time to create your own Advent Calendar!  There are so many different versions out there – it is amazing!  Here are just a few:

Online Advent Countdown Calendars

This year, my family is just going to use a sticker-calendar. Here are samples of other calendars that may be purchased.  Perhaps they will spark your imagination and you will be able to design your own. Be sure to share a link with us here; we'd love to see what you come up with.

Germany has contributed much to our musical history. One beautiful Christmas hymn that I love is Lo, How a Rose e'er Blooming. Originally entitled "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen", A Rose Has Sprung Up. Here is a brief bit of history about the song. And here is the song, in German:

Another well known German Christmas song is Ave Maria, composed by Franz Schubert in 1826.  Schubert originally intended the lyrics to be an excerpt from The Lady of the Lake, but over time the words were substituted with the Latin text of the traditional Ave Maria prayer. The German lyrics:



Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby is a great display of holiday countdown!