Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jesse Tree 2012 - The Fourth Week

The fourth week of Advent begins with the lighting of the fourth candle, the candle for love. This is the week we celebrate the arrival of Love. God is love. Emmanuel, God with us...Love with us.

This is also a short week, since Christmas is on Tuesday! Here's what we are planning for our week:

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012
Tonight's reading is about the angels coming to the shepherds and the shepherds visiting Jesus. 
  
Possible Readings:
The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - The Shepherd's Visit

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 27

Alternate Reading:
The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - Angels
 
Symbols:
Angel and Shepherd's Staff or Sheep 


Monday, December 24th, 2012
The final reading is about the Wise Men.
 
Possible Readings:
The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - The Wise Men

Alternate Reading:
The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - The Brightest Star
Symbol:
Star


Tuesday, December 25th, 2012
There are no readings specified for Christmas Day. But, you may choose to read the story of the birth of Jesus one more time. Maybe you have a special book set aside for this, or maybe you want to read directly from scripture. We like to light all 4 candles and the center candle when we get up in the morning...before going to the grandparents house and starting our festivities for the day.

Merry Christmas!

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 See other posts about the Jesse Tree and Advent by clicking the label "Jesse Tree" or "Advent" at the bottom of this post.
 

Photo Highlights from Chanukah


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Latkes - Try them with Beets!

These were the best! So delicious! My family raved and raved (and ate and ate). Eaten alongside the homemade applesauce from this summer, they were the perfect Chanukah meal!


Gluten Free Sweet Potato Latkes

3 Large Shredded Sweet Potatoes (this made about 6 cups - maybe more)
6 eggs (enough to get everything moist because the eggs hold it all together)
1 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour (or GF flour of your choice)
1t. salt

Mix it all together. Fry in 1/4-1/2 inch of coconut oil! If you keep to a medium/low heat coconut oil does not burn or smoke and the latkes get crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. 

We ate them with applesauce and slices of sharp white cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

Edited to Add: These are also quite tasty with half beets & half sweet potatoes!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Jesse Tree 2012 - The Third Week


The third week of Advent begins with the lighting of the third candle of Advent, the candle for joy. The joy candle is a different color  than the other candles. Traditionally, it is the pink candle. Now there will be three candles burning each evening.  


Sunday, December 16th

Possible Readings

Tonight's story is the story of Jonah! There are a number of children's picture books about Jonah, but I don't happen to own any of them. If you know of a really great one, feel free to let me know in the comments! Thanks!

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) Jonah and the Great Fish

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - The McCaughrean book uses a different order and different stories from here until the end of Advent. If you continue with a chapter each night, you will finish the McCaughrean book on Christmas Eve, as planned. Rather than listing two options on days when they don't match up, I'll refer back to this note. Simply keep reading a chapter each night. Use the symbol/ornament that fits with that chapter. Tonight's chapter should be "The Wisdom of Solomon."

Symbol(s)

Fish (Jonah)

Monday, December 17th

Possible Readings

In our house tonight we will be talking about the prophecies of Micah and Habakkuk (two days of the Voskamp readings) and reading some of the story of Elisha (not from McCaughrean, but this is the story covered by McCaughrean tonight).

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - There are 3 chapters about Elisha, beginning with "Elijah's Final Journey." Read them all or choose how much you can read tonight.

One Wintry Night (Graham) - The beginning of chapter 9 speaks of the prophecy in Micah.

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - Read the next chapter, "War and Peace" (see my note from Sunday, December 16th)

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Days 19 & 21 on Micah & Habakkuk
Symbol(s)
Dove (to symbolize the Healing power of God/the Holy Spirit through Elisha), City of Bethlehem (Micah), Tower/Castle (Habakkuk)  You do not need to use all the symbols! There will be a lot of doubling up in the coming days. It is enough to use what you have!

Tuesday, December 18th

Possible Readings

Today's story is the story of Esther.

A children's picture book about Esther that we enjoy is:
Queen Esther the Morning Star by Mordecai Gerstein

You may also read:
The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - Esther Becomes Queen and Esther Saves Her People


Alternate Reading: The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - see my note from Sunday, December 16th 

Symbol(s)

Scepter (Esther)

Wednesday, December 19th

Possible Readings - Read the notes here. They're important!

Tonight's reading is about Zachariah and his son, John the Baptist.

As we get closer to Christmas, the stories are all tied closely together. It's hard to separate out the pieces. Do whatever works for you. Maybe even read the whole nativity story each night...or find different versions of it to read, and then focus for a minute on the piece of the story for that night - the piece for that night's ornament. There is NO RIGHT WAY to do this. You have six nights left, and you have many possible people/symbols left to cover: Mary, Joseph, Zachariah, John the Baptist, Census/Donkey/Travel to Bethlehem, Shepherds, angels, and the star...not to mention that you may want to hang a nativity ornament on your Jesse Tree. This is the way I plan to cover them for the next six nights. I have listed the symbols that go with each night in parenthesis:

- Zachariah AND John (Pencil, Seashell)
- Mary AND Joseph (Lily, Hammer)
- Donkey and the travel to Bethlehem (Donkey or Town of Bethlehem)
- Birth of Jesus (Nativity)
- Angels AND Shepherds (Angel, Shepherd's Staff or Sheep)
- Wise Men and the Star (Star)

So tonight:
The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - see chapters on Zachariah & John the Baptist

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Days 22-23 on Zachariah and John 

Alternate Reading: The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - see my note from Sunday, December 16th

Symbol(s)

Pencil (Zachariah), Seashell (John)

Thursday, December 20th

Possible Readings

Read about the appearance of the angel to Mary tonight AND the appearance of the angel to Joseph assuring him that all was well.

Note: Explaining why Joseph was upset about Mary's pregnancy can be a little sticky. We always said that Joseph was upset because the baby was not his, and a woman is not supposed to have a baby that does not belong to her husband. This was special because Mary's baby was from God.

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - The Angel Appears to Mary and the beginning of the section on the Birth of Jesus - just far enough to cover Joseph.

As your children get older, these picture books may also be worth reading about Joseph:
The Mark of the Maker by Tom Hegg and Warren Hanson
Father and Son: A Nativity Story written by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Fabian Negrin

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Days 24 & 25 on Mary & Joseph

Alternate Reading: The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - see my note from Sunday, December 16th

Symbol(s)

Lily (Mary), Hammer (Joseph)

Friday, December 21st

Possible Readings

Spend some time talking about that donkey and the trip to Bethlehem! 

This is a wonderful picture book that focuses on the donkey:

You may also choose to read:
The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - the beginning of the section on the Birth of Jesus talks about the census and the trip to Bethlehem

One Wintry Night (Graham) - End of chapter 9 and beginning of chapter 10

Alternate Reading: The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - see my note from Sunday, December 16th

Symbol(s)

Donkey

Saturday, December 22nd

Possible Readings

Tonight's focus is the birth of Jesus! We love the children's picture book:
The First Christmas by Carol Heyer

You can also read the story in the these places:
The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) -  The Birth of Jesus

One Wintry Night (Graham) - finish chapter 10


Alternate Reading: The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - see my note from Sunday, December 16th 

Symbol(s)

Nativity

Just two more days of Advent left!!

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 See other posts about the Jesse Tree and Advent by clicking the label "Jesse Tree" or "Advent" at the bottom of this post.
 



Friday, December 07, 2012

8 Picture Books for 8 Days of Chanukah/Hanukkah

Tomorrow is the first night of Chanukah, which means it's the first of eight nights of double holidays in our house! This means we'll be lighting a lot more candles and bringing together our focus on the miracle of light...literal and figurative. We'll also be having a lot of fun, as Chanukah is a holiday of games, gifts & treats! Break out the gluten free jelly donuts, latkes & applesauce, and the Chanukah books, please!

This year we decided to do a picture-book-a-day Advent calendar. We combined it with our magnetic nativity calendar by placing a slip of paper inside each of the doors, along with the magnetic figures. The slip of paper has a book title, and that's the book we read after putting up the magnetic figure each day.

The First Six Magnets are up after last night...December 6th
A magnetic figure and a slip of paper behind each door
Because Chanukah is in the middle of Advent this year, I chose Chanukah books to write on the slips of paper for the 8 days of Chanukah. Here they are:

1. Hanukkah Haiku written by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Karla Gudeon

2. The Story of Hanukkah written by Bobbi Katz, illustrated by Linda Dockey Graves

3. Beni's First Chanukah written and illustrated by Jane Breskin Zalben

4. In the Month of Kislev: A Story for Hanukkah written by Nina Jaffe, illustrated by Louis August

5. The Hanukkah Mice  written by Ronne Randall, illustrated by Maggie Kneen

6. Nine Spoons: A Chanukah Story written by Marci Stillerman, illustrated by Pesach Gerber

7. Snow Crazy written and illustrated by Tracy Gallup AND Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening written by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers (Thess, of course, are not specifically Chanukah books. They're seasonal books, and I wanted to include them in the list somewhere because they're so sweet and beautiful.)

8. Hanukkah Moon written by Deborah da Costa and illustrated by Gosia Mosz

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Read about why we celebrate Chanukah here: Why Celebrate Chanukah?

Monday, December 03, 2012

Why celebrate Chanukah?

Chanukah begins December 8th this year! That's this coming Saturday, and we've already got our chanukiahs (chanukah menorahs) out and ready to go! We have hung blue lights in our kitchen & put up our Chanukah banner!


So, why do we, as Christian non-ethnically-Jewish people, celebrate Chanukah (and other Biblical holidays, for that matter)? The answer is not actually all that difficult. It's surprising to me, in many ways, that we didn't do this a whole lot sooner:

So, we know that Jesus was Jewish, we know that God brought Jesus, the Messiah and savior of the world, TO the world through the Jewish people. These people were chosen and set apart as the people of the Promise, the people through whom redemption would come. And they were given a set of holidays and traditions that would honor God and keep them focused on serving and remembering the promises throughout the year. Because we, as Christians, serve that very same God, we choose to honor those holiday.

We also choose to honor the holidays that commemorate the times when the Jewish people have been miraculously and supernaturally preserved from destruction. We acknowledge that we serve a God whose covenant is everlasting and cannot be broken. Chanukah is one of these holidays. We believe that we, as believers in the Messiah and servants of the very same God, have been grafted in to the "family tree." In Romans 11 Paul says,  speaking of the Gentiles (that's non-Jewish people):

"...you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree..."

As a "grafted in" part of the tree we celebrate with the tree! We celebrate that the roots have been preserved and that we receive the nourishment of life and hope through this tree!


Jesse Tree 2012 - The Second Week

The second week of Advent begins with the lighting of the second candle of Advent, the candle for peace. Now there will be two candles burning each evening. In 2006, when Mane was 4yrs old, I wrote this reflection on peace: Peace - The second candle of Advent. I'd love to hear the thoughts of others on peace. How do you define peace? What kind of conversation will you have with your children about peace this season?



Sunday, December 9th

Tonight we will light TWO Chanukah candles and read The Story of Hanukkah written by Bobbi Katz, illustrated by Linda Dockey Graves. Then we will light the two Advent candles and read our Jesse Tree story:

Readings

Tonight's story is the story of Moses. Tell as much or as little as you have time for. The symbol for your Jesse Tree will be stone tablets. So, you want to be sure to talk about the 10 Commandments. You may also wish to talk about the way Moses was saved by his mother floating him away in a basket and about the Exodus from Egypt, which was led by Moses.

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - all or select chapters on Moses

One Wintry Night (Graham) - Chapter 7 (a reasonably short version of the Exodus and the commandments at Sinai)

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "Let My People Go"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day10

Symbol(s)

Stone Tablets

Monday, December 10th

Monday we will light three Chanukah candles and read: Beni's First Chanukah written and illustrated by Jane Breskin Zalben. Then we will light the two Advent candles and read our Jesse Tree story:

Readings

Tonight we read the story of Ruth.Our favorite children's picture book for this story is:

Ruth and Naomi written and illustrated by Jean Marzollo (scroll down the linked page to see the book)

You may also read:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - Ruth and Naomi

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "The Foreigner"

 Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 11


Symbol(s)

Bundle of Grain

Tuesday, December 11th

Tuesday we will light four Chanukah candles and read In the Month of Kislev: A Story for Hanukkah written by Nina Jaffe, illustrated by Louis August. Then we will light the two Advent candles and read our Jesse Tree story:

Readings

Today's story is the story of Joshua. This story is not found in either Graham's or McCaughrean's books, but my family has included it for a number of years in our Jesse Tree readings. You can read it directly from scripture and/or:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - The Promised Land, Rahab and the Spies, The Battle of Jericho

 Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 12

The story of Joshua seems like an important story NOT to miss. Joshua and Caleb were the only 2 of the 12 spies, who returned from the land of Canaan and believed that God could deliver them into the land. They saw a land "flowing with milk & honey," while the others saw a land filled with impossible giants and pestilence. Joshua eventually became the leader of the people when Moses died, and he led the first great triumph in the promised land at Jericho.The name "Joshua" means deliverance or salvation and comes from the same root as the name Jesus. Joshua is yet another prophetic picture of the coming Messiah. For more thoughts on this check out this article at Hebrew for Christians: Joshua and Jesus.

Symbol(s)

Trumpet

Wednesday, December 12th

Wednesday we will light five Chanukah candles and read The Hanukkah Mice  written by Ronne Randall, illustrated by Maggie Kneen. Then we will light the two Advent candles and read our Jesse Tree story:

Readings

Tonight we will read the story of Samuel:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - Samuel is Called to Serve God

One Wintry Night (Graham) - Chapter 8 (This chapter flies through the judges, kings and prophets of Israel. It gives a very broad overview - very helpful for tying the story together.)

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "Speak, Lord, for Your Servant is Listening"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 13

Symbol(s)

Lamp

Thursday, December 13th

Thursday we will light six Chanukah candles and read Nine Spoons: A Chanukah Story written by Marci Stillerman, illustrated by Pesach Gerber. Then we will light the two Advent candles and read our Jesse Tree story:

Readings

Tonight's reading is about King David:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - all or select chapters on David

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "The Shepherd King" and "Dancing"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 14

Symbol(s)

Harp

Friday, December 14th

Friday we will light seven Chanukah candles and read some seasonal stories about snow including: Snow Crazy written and illustrated by Tracy Gallup and Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening written by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers. Then we will light the two Advent candles and read our Jesse Tree story: 

Readings

This is the night we will read of the prophets foretelling the coming of the Messiah.

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) -The Prophet Isaiah

One Wintry Night (Graham) - Chapter 8 (This chapter flies through the judges, kings and prophets of Israel. It gives a very broad overview - very, very helpful for tying the whole redemption story together.)

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) includes here a chapter on King Solomon ("The Wisdom of Solomon") and only mentions the prophecy of Isaiah in the chapter on Elijah ("The Idol and the Still Small Voice"), who we will read about tomorrow.

So, choose what you want your family to read. We will be relying heavily on:

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Days 15 & 17

Symbol(s)

Scroll

Saturday, December 15th

Saturday we will light all eight Chanukah candles and read Hanukkah Moon by Deborah da Costa, illustrated by Gosia Mosz. Then we will light the two Advent candles and read our Jesse Tree story:

Readings

Tonight's story is the story of Elijah:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) -  Elijah in the Wilderness, The Israelites Turn Against God

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "The Idol and the Still Small Voice"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 16

Symbol(s)

Raven


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This is the 8rd post in a series of posts about Advent, Christmas, Jesse Tree & Chanukah traditions. See the other posts here:
Season's Traditions
Jesse Tree

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Candles - A reflection for lighting the first candle of Advent


Candles. I love the way they look so warm, and they are so simple. I love the way they flicker with a little life of their own and soften the faces of those gathered around. I love the way those little flames get our attention. Candles are used in many traditions as part of rituals and remembrances. Somehow lighting a candle set this moment apart from the next moment, creating a space, setting aside a time for something.

So, we light candles for Advent. And we light candles for Chanukah. We sometimes have a whole table filled with little, flickering flames...a sea of remembrance...remembering hope, peace, joy, love...remembering deliverance and redemption...remembering that we are here, alive, waiting...anticipating our own redemption.

Take a moment when you light your first Advent candle tomorrow to just stop. Just be. Just wait. Breathe. Listen. Take in the faces around you. Be present. We are setting aside this season, creating sacred space, consecrating these coming nights. The season of Hope begins.

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My personal reflection on Hope, as I grieve for my mother this Advent season, can be found here: Hope That Burns Us.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Starting with 200

Gifts. I have kept counting them. But I can't write this next part of the list without crying. So, I've put it off and put it off. But, here they are. Many won't make sense if you weren't there. It's ok. I'm counting out loud.

200. My neighbor's young daughter, who loaned me a car to drive to the hospital and told me to just keep it for as long as I needed it.
201. My cousin driving me home to spend the night in between hospital days.
202. Every single nurse in the hospital was kind and helpful and warm. Every. Single. One.
203. Dr. Jenny Lessard. I don't know how to thank her enough. Or how to thank God enough for her.
204. Dr. Sanda Morar. Her love is such a gift.
205. The short stay nurses, who came to visit, especially DeeAnn...for rushing in like a whirlwind and making us laugh, though we were drowning in sadness.
206. Dr. Dale Berry and his gift for talking medicine and theology all at once.
207. Meals from church people, who don't even know us.
208. My parents best friends, who live just minutes away.
209. For that best friend sitting in his car in the driveway when I pulled up to an empty house.
210. CaringBridge
211. Text messages offering encouragement and love.
212. An extra recliner in the hospital room.
213. The courtesy cart at the hospital.
214. Hot coffee at all hours of day and night.
215. Visits that were unexpectedly helpful.
216. Peace between family members
217. The hospice nurse on the morning my mom died and the stories she told.
218. Facebook friends, who were awake at random hours of day and night with messages of love.
219. No. More. Pain.
220. Friends for Mane.
221. Friends of my own, who drove Mane all around.
222.  My sister-in-law, who carried her own hope and kept it secret, who delivered gluten free lasagna and small comfort gifts.
223. Gluten free cookies and bread from a friend.
224. The ambulance drivers.
225. The funeral home directors.
226. Small town courtesies.
227. Heated seats.
228. The pastor from Utah
229. Friends from California
230. Stories people told
231. A steady stream of cards in the mail
232. Full freezer...for me and my dad
233. Bible study folks driving all the way to see us
234. Flowers from all kinds of people
235. Friends who ran out to buy vases.
236. Caribou from my dear, dear friend
237. People who ask the hard questions with me
238. My mom's ring
239. Help with the slideshow. THANK YOU!
240. Unexpectedly finding music I loved for the slideshow.
241. My children singing spanish songs at the memorial.
242. My uncle facebooking my dad in the middle of the night.
243. My uncle answering his phone in the middle of the night.
244. My dad's boss giving the guys paid time off to come to the memorial.
245. My ant & uncle flying in from Alaska.
246. My aunt driving down from Canada.
247. My uncle driving from New York.
248. Merkel Cell Awareness t-shirts
249. Emails from Jess in New York
250. A friend who will take up all my causes with me.
251. Orange yarn
252. Basket of fruit from a friend in St. Paul
253. Knowing that friend's children cared enough to call their mom as soon as they saw the message on facebook
254. Ann at PHS for understanding and taking the time to talk about it
255. My brother-in-law and his wife have TWINS on the way. How can this be? In this middle of all this. Double blessing.
256. Mane getting time with her good friend twice a week now that they're both homeschooling.
257. People ordering MCC shirts
258. My co-workers. Wow. They are just the best.
259. My boss, too, and her husband. So glad to be working for them right now.
260. Facebook messages from my parent's friend, who care about me too.
261. Having the time to blog about my favorite season.
263. Swimming with Mane AND Mango at Lifetime.
264. Attending TWO theater events this month.
265. A husband who lets me be who I am.
266. That I can still be grateful.

I don't even want to think that I can still be grateful right now. But, there it is. There are gifts in my life. They are there...whether I open my hands and receive them or whether I push them away. I am fighting to choose life. To choose gratitude...to accept those gifts that are offered, though they cannot take the place of gifts I've lost. They don't replace my mom. They don't give her back to me. But they are not nothing. They don't make it better. But they do add to my life. They make my life richer than if I had nothing at all. They are, in fact, signs that I am still alive.

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This post was inspired by Ann Voskamp at:

holy experience

Jesse Tree 2012 - The First Week

So, here's a possible plan for the first week of Advent/Jesse Tree. I've included a number of different resources for telling the stories each night. Of course, you may read them directly from scripture or you may use a children's picture Bible of your choice, depending on the age of your children and how long you think they can listen.

Jesse Tree ornaments for the first week of Advent

Sunday, December 2nd

Light the first candle of Advent, the candle for Hope, and have a little conversation about hope. In our house it looks a little like this:

Me: "This first candle is a symbol of hope. What is hope?"
Mane: "Hope is when you're waiting for something."
Me: "Right, hope is when we believe something will happen and we're waiting for it. What are we waiting for?"
Mane: "We're waiting for Christmas!"
Me: "What's so special about Christmas?"
Mane: "It's when we celebrate the birth of Jesus."

Now that conversation has changed some over the years because we taught Mane that Christmas is probably not when Jesus was born. The season of Advent, though, is a time set aside for us to focus on the gift of Jesus, even if he was born at a totally different time of year.

Reading 

We'll be reading Isaiah 11 to introduce the Jesse Tree. Then we'll read the Story of Creation.Have have used these books (not all at once, but over the course of several years)

In The Beginning by Steve Turner, illustrated by Jill Newton (the whole book)

The Children's Illustrated Bible - stories retold by Selina Hastings, illustrated by Eric Thomas - chapter on "The Creation"

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham, illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson (chapter 3)

The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Bee Willey (chapter entitled "The Jesse Tree" and the beginning of "Paradise Garden")

This year we will be reading Days 1 & 2 from Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional.

Symbol(s)

Following the reading, we hang Jesse Tree ornaments. Then we open the Advent calendar.  The symbols for this night are:
- Tree
- Globe/Earth

Monday, December 3rd

Reading 

Tonight's reading is about the Fall of humans, the first sin.

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - "The Garden of Eden"

One Wintry Night (Graham) - chapters 4 and 5

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - finish chapter entitled "Paradise Garden"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 3

Symbol(s) 

apple

Tuesday, December 4th

Reading 

Tonight's reading is the story of Noah. A picture book we have often used to tell this story is:

Noah's Ark written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (You have to scroll down the linked page. It was published in 2002.)

You could also read:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - "Noah's Ark," "The Flood"

One Wintry Night (Graham) - Chapter 6

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "A Boat Full of Animals."

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 4

Symbol(s)

Ark

Wednesday, December 5th

Reading 

This night's story is the calling of Abraham and God's promise to make Abraham into a great nation. Readings can be found in:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - "Abram's Journey"

One Wintry Night (Graham) -very, very beginning of Chapter 7; just a tiny bit is said about Abraham

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "Strange Visitors"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 5

Symbol(s) 

camel

Thursday, December 6th

Reading 

Tonight's story is the story of Isaac. This is a difficult story, and you may want to do some reading about the context and meaning of the story before deciding if it's an appropriate time to pass it on to your children. I recommend this article from Hebrew For Christians: The Sacrificed Seed of Abraham. It is long and intense, but that is exactly the type of article needed to really work through the complexities of this story. (If you choose not to cover this story with your children this year, simply move on to the next day's reading. There will be other places this Advent where you can stretch other stories over several days.)

Here are the places where you can find tonight's story:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - "Abram, Sarai, and Hagar," "Abraham's Two Sons," "The Sacrifice of Isaac"

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "A Test of Love"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Days 6 and 7

Symbol(s) 

Ram or goat

Friday, December 7th

Reading 

Tonight we read the story of Jacob's dream of the ladder and the angels ascending and descending the ladder to heaven. In this story God renews the Abrahamic covenant with Abraham's grandson, Jacob. Indeed, Jacob goes on to become the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - "Jacob's Ladder" (You may also want to include chapters leading up to this in order to understand who Jacob was and how he came to be in the place where he had the dream.)

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "Stairway to Heaven"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 8

Symbol(s) 

Ladder

Saturday, December 8th: The First Day of Chanukah

Saturday marks the beginning of Chanukah this year! Tradition has it that each member of a family should have their own menorah/chanukiah. Candles are lit from right to left. The center candle is the shamash, the servant candle, and is used to the light the other candles each night. Before our Advent readings, we will say the blessings involved with the lighting of the chanukiah and light the first chanukiah candle. Then we'll light the Advent candle, tell the story, hang the Jesse Tree ornament,  open Advent calendars...THEN we'll play dreidel and eat chanukah treats! (I'll be writing more about Chanukah over the next week, now that I've completed this post on the first week of Advent!)

Reading 

Tonight's story is the story of Joseph. This one is long and will take some time. If you skipped the story of Isaac, you can easily stretch the story of Joseph over two days. It is worth noting that both Isaac and Joseph are prophetic pictures of the coming Messiah. Both involve stories of redemption. Both are foundational to the establishment and continuance of the Jewish people, from whom that Messiah would come. This fits beautifully with the first night of Chanukah, as Chanukah is also a story of miracles and salvation.

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - all or select chapters about Joseph

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) uses two chapters to cover this story: "The Dreamer" and "Famine and Plenty."

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 9

Symbol(s) 

A Coat of Many Colors

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This is the 7rd post in a series of posts about Advent, Christmas, Jesse Tree & Chanukah traditions. See the other posts here:
Season's Traditions
Jesse Tree

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Download-able Advent Devotional with Jesse Tree Ornaments

I just peaked over at A Holy Experience, the blog of Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, and I saw that she has a FREE Family Advent Christmas Devotional with printable Jesse Tree ornaments that you can download. I think this may be our landing place for Advent this year. Check it out!

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This is the 6rd post in a series of posts about Advent, Christmas, Jesse Tree & Chanukah traditions. See the other posts here:
Season's Traditions
Jesse Tree

Hope that Burns Us

I love, love, love the planning and preparing for this season of Advent and Chanukah. I love the strings of lights, the glittery reflections on window glass and ornaments. I love the feel of the words that surround this season...
hope,
peace,
love,
redemption,
Messiah,
Yeshua,
chanukiah,
shamash...
 I want to wrap those words around myself like warm, downy blankets, their comforting sounds shushing the wails of grief, ever singing in my ears. Is it muffling grief? Is it balm to the wounds? I don't know. It helps. It eases the suffering.

A candle flickers in the Nativity scene in my entry room day and night. I light candles often in my house, for beauty, for remembrance, for prayers. I think of the seas of candles at candlelight vigils...at Christmas Eve church services...at Easter Eve at the Basilica. Especially, I think of the way we extinguish our candles at the Basilica when we hear of the death of Messiah and then we pound on the pews until one single light returns.

One single light.

The light of Yeshua. The one we Hope for this Advent. We are waiting for His return. When grief overflows in our hearts we beg.
Come, Yeshua. Come.
Come now.
Come save us.
We are done with this world. We pound on the pews. We stomp our feet. The noise builds to fill our ears. Darkness fills our eyes. Grief fills our throats.

Until that one tiny light returns. And gives light to the whole room. And our eyes flood with relief from the aching darkness. Our burning hands are still. Our tired feet can rest. Our cheeks are wet with the grief and the pain and the hope that burns us.

"And he sang to them, now in the Elven tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness." (from Tolkien's The Return of the King)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Picture Book Advent List

Here's our list for a-picture-book-a-day Advent calendar. (Keeping in mind that Dec. 8th-Dec. 15th is Chanukah.) My plan is to have a slip of paper in the matchbox Advent calendar with the title of the book. Then we'll go find it on the shelf & read it. I opted for doing this, rather than wrapping all the books in order to save paper!

Matchbox Advent Calendar

1. You Are Special written by Max Lucado, illustrated by Sergio Martinez - While this is not technically an Advent, Christmas or Chanukah story, I love the message that each of us is loved and special. This is, after all, why the Messiah was sent..."for God so loved the world..." And this is why we celebrate Advent.

2. Old Turtle written by Douglas Wood, illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee - Again, not technically a book for the season, but, again, communicating that something went desperately wrong with the world and the Messiah was sent for our redemption.

3. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend written by Julie Stiegemeyer, illustrated by Chris Ellison - This is my favorite children's book for explaining how Santa Claus came to be.

4. Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became a Legend written by Vincent Yzermans - We don't intend to read this whole book. I intend to skim it for highlights and show off the pictures.

5. D is for Dala Horse written by Kathy-jo Wargin, illustrated by Renee Graef

6. The Legend of Old Befana written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

7. The Night of Las Posadas written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

8. Hanukkah Haiku written by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Karla Gudeon

9. The Story of Hanukkah written by Bobbi Katz, illustrated by Linda Dockey Graves

10. Beni's First Chanukah written and illustrated by Jane Breskin Zalben

11. In the Month of Kislev: A Story for Hanukkah written by Nina Jaffe, illustrated by Louis August

12. The Hanukkah Mice  written by Ronne Randall, illustrated by Maggie Kneen

13. Nine Spoons: A Chanukah Story written by Marci Stillerman, illustrated by Pesach Gerber

14. Snow Crazy written and illustrated by Tracy Gallup

15. Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening written by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers

16. The Wild Christmas Reindeer written and illustrated by Jan Brett

17. The Berenstain Bear's Christmas Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain with Mike Berenstain

18. The Littlest Angel written by Charles Tazewell, illustrated by Paul Michich

19. Trouble with Trolls written and illustrated by Jan Brett

20. Christmas Trolls written and illustrated by Jan Brett

21. Owl Moon written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr

22. 12 Days of Christmas written and illustrated by Jan Brett

23. A Forest Christmas written and illustrated by Mayling Mack Holm

24. The Night Before Christmas written and illustrated by Jan Brett

25. The First Christmas written and illustrated by Carol Heyer

(I have made every effort to link to books and book descriptions through author websites. For some links, you will need to scroll through a list of books by the author to find the specific book I have mentioned. I believe that all of the books are available for purchase online, though they may not be available directly through the author's website.)

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This is the 5rd post in a series of posts about Advent, Christmas, Jesse Tree & Chanukah traditions. See the other posts here:
Season's Traditions
Jesse Tree


Advent Calendar - In Picture Books!

Another fun & fabulous Advent idea for those who love books and want to fill the season with stories and snuggly, book-reading memories:

A Picture Book a Day Advent Calendar

Wrap up twenty-five picture books. Open one book each day until Christmas, snuggle up and enjoy the story! (These can be books you already own or even books from the library!)

The following bloggers have compiled lists of the books they have used:

ShelfTalker
Our Home on the Range
A Striped Armchair
Sarah Jane

TOTALLY OFF TOPIC (sort of): While I was searching for book lists, I ran across this Rocking Chair artist: Hal Taylor. I think you should check out his website, too! He makes a rocking chair with arm seats for little people to look over your shoulder while you're reading.

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This is the 4rd post in a series of posts about Advent, Christmas, Jesse Tree & Chanukah traditions. See the other posts here:
Season's Traditions
Jesse Tree