Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Reason for the Season

So, in our house we talk a lot about Christmas.   A LOT!  My oldest is so "exciting" (it's what she says vs. excited - and I love it, I wish she'd never stop, even if the other 7th graders would make fun of her) for everything - Santa, snow, going to Grandma's, and of course, presents.  We have several nativities (I collect them) so we played with them last year and talked about Jesus being born, but I'm not sure how much sunk in to that 2-year-old brain.  This year, I decided to make our Advent calendar more than just a treat every day.  I Googled "children's version of Christmas Story."  There are hundreds - so I took a little from here, a little from there, and I tried to emphasize things my kids talk about - feet getting tired, babies in bellies, being safe at night, looking up and seeing stars.  Then, I divided the story into 24 parts and came up with some questions that a 3-year-old would be able to answer for each part.  I'm going to put a section and its questions in each door of our Advent calender (we have a wooden tree shaped calender).  I'm thinking of putting the story into a scrapbook and leaving spaces for their answers . . . we'll see if I get that organized!  Plus, I'd need pictures - yikes!  I do think we'll have to read the whole story every day - I don't think I can keep them hanging on every word if they only get a sentence a day.
  Tomorrow, I'm going to consult Tim Piper, my personal graphic designer (and brother) to see if he has time to make this into a fun printable for you to cut out if you'd like to use it in your own Advent calender (or, if he's busy at his real job, I'll just put it in Excel...).  If you'd like a copy, email me at cameron.homemade@gmail.com and I'll send you a PDF of whatever I do get whipped up.  

Christmas Traditions at JDaniel4's Mom

A very long time ago, Mary and Joseph went on a journey to Bethlehem.  It was a long journey, and Mary had to ride on a donkey. 

1) Have you had to go on a long journey?  Where did you go?  How did you get there?

Mary had baby Jesus in her belly, so it was nice of the donkey to let her ride so her feet wouldn’t get tired.

2) Do your feet get tired sometimes?  What do you do?

When Mary and Joseph finally got to Bethlehem, they wanted to stay at a hotel, but all the rooms were full. 

3) Have you ever stayed in a hotel? What would you do if the rooms were all full?

Finally, someone told Joseph there was a little bit of room in the barn with the animals if he and Mary wanted to spend the night there.

4) Do you think you would like to sleep in a barn? 

Mary and Joseph were very thankful to have a warm place to lie down and rest. 

5) Do you have a warm place to sleep?  What are you thankful for?

They didn’t mind that it wasn’t a fancy hotel room, and that there wasn’t any pool to swim in. 

6) Is it OK if you don’t always get what you want?  What other fun things could you do in a barn?

That night, Christmas Eve, a miracle happened. 

7) Do you know what a miracle is?

Mary had her baby, right there in the barn!  Baby Jesus was more than just a tiny baby – he is the King of Kings, the One who would save the world.

8) Where were you born? 

Mary was very happy to have Baby Jesus safe in her arms.  She hugged him close.

9) Do you know someone who is happy to give you big hugs?

She wrapped him up in warm clothes and laid him in the soft hay on the manger, where the cows usually ate.   The cows didn’t mind giving up their hay for Baby Jesus.

10) What do you wear when you sleep?  Have you ever given up something you wanted so someone else could be happy?

In the fields outside of Bethlehem, some shepherds were watching their sheep to keep them safe during the night. 

11) Who watches over you at night to keep you safe?

As soon as Baby Jesus was born, there was a bright light in the sky over the shepherds.  It was so bright that the shepherds couldn’t see, and they had to close their eyes. 

12) What do you see when you look up into the sky at night?

When they opened their eyes, they saw a beautiful angel floating in the air above them.  They couldn’t believe what they were seeing.  It was a miracle.

13) Can you think of any miracles that have happened to you?

At first, the shepherds were afraid, but the angel said, “Do not be afraid.  I’m here to bring you good news.  Today in Bethlehem a baby has been born, He is the one that will save the world.   You will know the baby because he will be wrapped in cloths, and laying in a manger.”

14) Are you afraid sometimes? 

Suddenly, a whole choir of angels joined the first angel.  A choir is a big group that usually sings.  All the angels said, “Glory to God, and peace to all people on Earth,” and then they floated away. 

15) Do you like to sing?  Do you know what peace is?  How can you be peaceful?

The shepherds were so happy, and they wondered – did the angels tell everybody the good news, or just them?  They decided to go into Bethlehem to find Baby Jesus.

16) Do you have any good news?  Who do you want to tell?

The shepherds went into Bethlehem, and they looked and looked for Baby Jesus?  Finally, they found the barn where Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus were staying. 

17) Have you ever looked for something?  Where did you look?

When they saw Baby Jesus, the shepherds were so happy they had found the Lord, and they got down on their knees beside him. 

18) Why were the shepherds so happy?  What makes you happy?

Far away, in another country, some wise men were riding their camels when they saw the same star that the shepherds had seen shining in the sky.  They were very wise men, and they knew from all the books they read that this bright and shining star meant that the King of the Jews, the One who would save the world, had been born. 

19) Do you read books?  What have you learned?

The wise men followed the path that the star made at night, and it led them East to Bethlehem, where Mary and Joseph were still staying with Baby Jesus. 

20) Can you follow a path?  Where does it go?

The wise men were very excited to see the Baby Jesus.  They bowed down and worshiped him, because he was the King of Kings. 

21)  Worship is like prayer.  Do you pray for anyone?

The wise men brought gifts for Baby Jesus, and they helped Baby Jesus open them.  The gifts weren’t baby toys, they were very special gifts, meant for a king. 

22) Why did the wise men bring gifts for Baby Jesus?

The gifts were gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Frankincense and myrrh are special gifts that are made from tree sap and smell good. 

23) Can you think of a special gift you’ve gotten?

Christmas is a wonderful time of year because we remember that Baby Jesus was born to save the World, and we are thankful for this miracle. 

24) Why do we celebrate Christmas? 


  1. What an absolutely darling and clever idea! I'm totally going to do this with my kiddos this year and love how much more "real" and personal it makes it. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Inspiration Friday this week!

  2. Aww..I love this & want to use it for my Sunday School class! I'd love a copy whenever you get it printed up! Thanks so much for linking up to Things I've Done Thursday!!

    Sew Rugged @ bear rabbit bear


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