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Starting to Catch-UpSeveral families asked whether we were going to do Advent andChristmas as a ‘Take it Home’ event this year again –the event wherewe give resources to families to help them grow faith in the home. Theproblem is there are lots of great topics that we still want to cover. Sowe decided to offer our ‘Catch-Up’ events with the whole ketchupbottle as a logo and everything. As we receive feedback from the ‘Takeit Home’ Events many of you said that we don’t need to buy theresources for you – just let you know what they are. That’s the ideawith the Catch-Up event then – we’ll catch you up with what’s availablefor resources and what looks good. You can decide what you need inyour home. We’d love to hear what you decide to do and how you doit!Catching up with Advent and ChristmasFor me, it always feels strange when you walk through a store inSeptember and see Christmas trees and decorations. Sometimes wefeel that Christmas is overdone and drawn out sapping the wonder andexcitement of the season. But what if we need to catch-up with the bigbox stores rather than wish they would slow down to our schedule?Stores need to plan months ahead to make Christmas a success forthem. Perhaps spiritually we as families need to be planning ahead onhow we can make Advent and Christmas a success. Trying to figure outthe details at the last minute, or on-the-fly amidst a busy schedule isdifficult and like shopping for gifts last minute, leaves you with littlechoices for what you can do. The idea of this pamphlet is to give yousome ideas to help you ‘catch-up’ on how you celebrate your faiththrough the seasons of the church year particularly through Advent andChristmas.Realistically there are three chances to focus on ‘Christmas’ on thechurch calendar - Advent, Christmas day, and the 12 days of Christmasthat lead up to Epiphany (January 6). Advent is a time of expectation.
Christmas Day we celebrate Christ’s birth and the 12 days of Christmasbuild on that until Epiphany – traditionally a day that celebrates thecoming of the Wise men and Jesus being made known to the wholeworld. The point of sharing this is that as a family you don’t have to doeverything all on one day. What we hope though is that you will beintentional, balanced and try to figure out what works for you.Some families find Christmas day so busy – gifts being opened, visitingwith families, cooking, and eating. Here is how some families havefound ways to balance and integrate a focus on faith with all theactivities which celebrate Christmas. One family makes Christmas Eve aprimary focus on the birth of Christ including a full birthday party forJesus with a cake and everything so on Christmas day they’re not tryingto force more into the schedule. This allows them to be intentional andtake the time they need for what they want to do. Another familyshared how they start with stockings and some gifts and then in themiddle to calm down and refocus make hot chocolate and read theChristmas story before opening the rest of the gifts. Some familiesevery year spend time on Sunday night lighting the Advent wreath. Thepoint is that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to celebrate faiththroughout the Advent and Christmas seasons, but it helps to beintentional. Just like we plan out our special meals, shop for theperfect gift, and schedule our parties-- I hope that as families we planout how to have a focus on faith throughout the seasons of Advent andChristmas.One of the best ways of being intentional – is to establish a tradition.Something that you do each and every year – though there may bevariations on it – it is consistent and reinforces the truth whileestablishing itself among the other traditions you may already have. Byworking to establish traditions – you are teaching your childrenconsistently and in an ongoing way how to celebrate faith in the home.A tradition started in your home could well be a tradition in the home ofyour child, and the home of your children’s children. You see thepotential to impact your family for the long term, not just a few minutesthis year. How you celebrate any holiday or event will impact you andyour child and makes memories that are treasured. How you celebrate
also makes an impression on your child. An impression of yourrelationship, an impression of the role of faith, and an impression ofhow we celebrate.To help you out – we’ve listed a variety of ideas and resources that areavailable for you and your family to use. We hope you find them helpfuland meaningful.Thank you for the continued priviledge and gift of partnering with youas families to help grow faith in your homes and to help lead yourchildren towards Christ.May the Lord bless you and keep you in the coming months.Mike EngbersAssociate Pastor – Children and Families
Advent WreathAt church each Advent we set up a wreath with 5 candles – 3 purple, 1pink, and 1 white. Each Sunday over Advent a candle is lit to remind usof the expectation of Christ. There are different themes that can beused to follow in lighting the advent candles. Here are two general setsof themes for each of the candles. The two themes are traditionalthemes that are connected. The connection is in italics. Some of theadvent resources listed will contain ideas of family friendly readingswith the advent wreath, as well searching for advent wreath on theinternet can link you to resources as well.Week 1 Hope the ProphetsChrist is our Hope, the prophesied MessiahRead Isaiah 60:2-3Week 2 Peace BethlehemThe Prince of Peace was born in BethlehemRead Matthew 2:1-6Week 3 Joy ShepherdCelebrate, like the Shepherds, the good tidings of Great Joy for all thepeople. This is the Pink Candle.Read Isaiah 35:10Week 4 Love AngelCelebrate the Love of God shown through us and the message of Goodnews proclaimed by the angels.Read Isaiah 9:6-7Christmas Christ ChristThis is the white candle representing that through Christ’s forgivenessour sins are washed away. Celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.Read Luke 1:68-79; Luke 2:1-20
Advent CalendarThe idea of using a calendar to count down to Christmas is very popularin our culture. A walk through Walmart or any other store will showyou any number of different Advent calendars filled with chocolate forAdvent. Consider finding one with a Christian theme at a Christian bookstore. Another option is to make your own Advent calendar.Technically these calendars are not ‘true’ advent calendars. They countdown from December 1st, while Advent starts four Sundays prior toChristmas.Nativity SetSo often these are provided as decoration – a do not touch for children.Consider buying a nativity set for your children. There are nativity setsfrom VeggieTales, Little People, there are cute nativity sets, plush andsoft sets, pretty and delicate, or rough and tumble style sets. Childrenneed to engage scripture by playing with it—that can mean any numberof things but when it comes to a nativity set they can play out the storyof the Nativity. Help them understand what each of the pieces is for –imagine what it would have been like. Have fun. Imagine. Dream.Celebrate what the Christmas story is not just in words but in play.Jesse TreeThis practice is not as well known but has roots historically going back tothe middle ages. There are a variety of ways to set up this tradition –but in it’s most basic form is a series of ornaments with picturesreflecting parts of the story of Christmas going all the way back toCreation. Each day a new ornament is added working your way up thetree. This could be done as a way to add decorations onto an existingtree already, or to use a smaller table top tree. You can find resourcesonline by searching for ‘Jesse Tree’.Explore traditions and practicesMany of our traditions either have roots, or have had legends createdthat tie them to the birth of Jesus. There are books out there withlegends of the candy cane, stockings and Christmas tree. These aresome examples of how you can tie regular Christmas items with Christ.Please keep in mind just because it’s in a book it isn’t always true.
Just have Family TimeRead stories about Christmas, play games, do activities, do some baking.Just have some informal time together celebrating. At the end is a listof resources of story books, videos and cd’s in the church library. Theseare there for the benefit of you as a family.Use Previous ResourcesNot every Christmas has to be new – use the same resources year toyear. The story doesn’t change and with a year passed by somethingfamiliar is a great way to refocus on the birth of Christ. Here are thethree resources given away in our Family Faith: Take it Home event. Getting Ready for Christmas A daily advent prayer and activity book for the family. This is great for young children – each day is a short verse, prayer and activity. ISBN 0758608608 Before and After Christmas Daily activities and ideas for advent, Christmas all the way through to Epiphany. A great resource to help broaden and expand a family’s understanding of Christmas. ISBN 0806641568 The 25 Days of Christmas A series of family readings, scriptures, and activities for the Advent Season. Suitable for older children. Each day has a story, a prayer and an activity for the family to do. ISBN 0849918359
Other Advent Resources and Idea Books: The ADVENTure of Christmas: Finding Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions Your kids know that Christmas means the birth of Jesus- and they want to celebrate. Join the author on a 24-day expedition to discover the Savior in the center of all things holiday-shopping, baking, decorating; and even the candy cane, the pear- tree partridge, the Santa suit, and the meaning of the mistletoe kiss. ISBN 1590520890 What God Wants for Christmas This kid-friendly, interactive nativity - with seven gift boxes, a colorful pop-up, and an illustrated poem - contains a surprise ending that will open a child’s heart to Jesus. Use this hands-on lesson in Sunday schools, outreach events, or family devotions, over multiple days or all at once. It’s simple, easy to use, and fun for all ages! Share the good news this Christmas season with those who need to hear! Waiting for Christmas A story about the Advent Calendar. Included in it are a list of activities and ideas that you can do throughout advent, including providing you with an advent calendar. A great way to introduce the idea of Advent to your children. It teaches children that they must wait patiently as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Ages 4-8 ISBN 0310710154
Family Nights for Advent and ChristmasA book with weekly themes and events forAdvent, Christmas all the way through Epiphany.Very age appropriate for children and easy toadapt for a family. Includes activities for eachweek, family time, snack ideas, and prayers.Would require some preparation each week bythe family.ISBN 0870292722Just 25 Days ‘Til Christmas: An AdventCelebration for the Entire FamilyThis interactive Christmas book aims tohelp youand your family get the most out of the Christmasseason. Includes daily devotionals, practical ideasfor incorporating children into your planning, funactivities, and a Christmas checklist for holidaypreparations.ISBN 1591855675Bringing God Home: family Devotions for theChristian YearThis guide to family worship, which follows theChristian calendar, aims to help establish a familytradition of worship and Bible study through asystematic reading of the Bible and a practicalsetting for home worship. Each of the entriesincludes a Scripture passage and worship activitysuch as an object lesson or hand craft. This booktargets children of all ages with concise, hands - onapproach to worship and study.ISBN 1573120146
Christmas Books, DVD’s and CD’s from the ‘Book Patch’ The Book Patch is our Church Library off the foyer – come check out the resources we have for you and your family.Books for Children ages 0 – 6 Christmas with Night-Light Lingo, SusanAngels story, AnLucado, Max Crippled Lamb, The Lucado, MaxAnimals First Christmas BoardBook, The Clopper, the Christmas donkeyGoldsack, Gaby King, EmilyAnnikas secret wish Do you see what I see?Lewis, Beverly Mead, ArdenAway in a Manger Board Book Emma’s gift Idle, Molly SchaarBaby Boy, Bundle of JoyTaylor, Damon J. Eriks Christmas gift exchange Taylor, Jeannie St. JohnBaby Jesus is born Gigi, Gods little princess: theChristmas candle, The perfect Christmas giftEvans, Riard Paul Walsh, SheilaChristmas is…for me! God gave us ChristmasTangvald, Christine Bergren, Lisa TawnChristmas miracle of Jonathan Greatest Shepherd of allToomey, The Gerth, HolleyWojcieowski, Susan Have you seen Christmas?Christmas rhymes & carols Howie, VickiRock, Lois Huron Carol, TheChristmas troll, The De Brebeuf, JeanPeterson, Eugene H. J is for Jesus, The Zonderkidz
Legend of the candy cane Story of Christmas for Children,Walburg, Lori TheLegend of the Christmas tree Story of the Nativity, TheOsborne, Rick Winthrop, ElizabethMommy, Was Santa Claus Born Clopper and the Night Travelerson Christmas Too? King, EmilyKnoll, Barbara The Legend of St. Nicholas AMy Christmas stocking Christmas A Story of GivingBowman, Crystal Dandi Daley MackallPinetree parable, The Nate the Great and the CrunchyHiggs, Liz Curtis Christmas Sharmat, MarjoriePrairie ChristmasVan Steenwyk, Elizabeth The Very First Christmas Paul L. MaierSanta, are you for real?Myra, Harold LawrenceThe Shepherd Boys StoryBoard BookGoldsack, GabySolomon and friends learn aboutChristmasHawkins, JonnyStar for Jesus, ABowman, CrystalStar of Christmas, TheCindy KenneyStory of Christmas, TheFehlner, Paul
Books for Children ages 7 – 12 Candle: A Story of Love and FaithBest Christmas pageant ever, Smith, Sally AnnTheRobinson, Barbara Shepherds Christmas Story, TheThe Crazy Christmas angel Dandi Daley Mackallmystery Story of Christmas: A BiblicalLewis, Beverly Account of the Christmas Story Jeffs, StephanieThe Last ChristmasBibee, John What Nick and Holly Found in Grandpas AtticMandie and the unwanted gift Carlson, MelodyLeppard, Lois Gladys Shane (Young believer on tour ;My life as reindeer road kill bk. 5)(bk. 9) Arterburn, Stephen Myers, Bill
Children’s MediaAdventures in Odyssey: electric Christmas (Adventures in Odyssey ; no.7) (VHS)Baby Faith: God made Christmas (DVD)C hristmas at home: 20 kids’ favorites (CD)Christmas Carols: 15 classic Christmas carols for children (CD)Hermie and Friends Series #5: A Fruitcake Christmas (DVD)The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree (CD)KidSing! Christmas: 17 Carols & Hymns (CD)KidzBop Christmas (CD)Little Drummer boy, The (VHS)Little troll prince, The,: a Christmas parable (VHS)Rock-a-bye Christmas (DVD)Songs kids love to sing: 25 Christmas songs (CD)VeggieTales: the star of Christmas (VHS)VeggieTales: the toy that saved ChristmasWorship JAMZ Christmas (CD)