In this post: Advent fun and Jesse Tree devotions and ornaments for Dec. 17th-18th. Grinch and Christmas Wrap Up games. A gingerbread treat and craft.
I’m watching my youngest play and I’m reminded that precious is more important than perfect. God has blessed me with a precious family and a precious life. I don’t want to lose it because I’m striving for perfect. I know people who are losing a loved one, and I know many who are missing a loved one this Christmas. Last year my Grandpa was in a nursing home. He apologized for the pitiful Christmas and next year he’d try better. He died in February on my birthday. My Grandma and all of us are missing him.
Death is awful. Christmas may be sad for some of us but we can rejoice. Christ came to destroy death forever. I know I will see my Grandpa again in Heaven. I have that because Jesus, God’s Son, wrapped Himself in flesh and came to dwell with us, humans. Christ lived, died, and rose again to bring us life. Christmas is about Jesus’ Precious gift of life.
Here’s how we celebrated days 17 and 18 of Advent.
- Periodic Table Sugar Cookies~ I decided to combine Michael’s science project with our dessert for Nana’s. We didn’t have enough cookie dough to make the whole chart. Anywho, the cookies were a good conversation starter. I found out that my stepdad has some of the periodic table memorized. We were quite impressed.
- Christmas at Nana’s~ We had an early celebration with my mom and stepdad. Mom had everything super festive. I like looking at the ornaments from when I was a kid.
- Grinch Fun~ We played pin the heart on the Grinch after we watched the cartoon. Here’s my stepdad and my mom.
Leeland was a little freaked out when I wore the Grinch mask. “Mommy, is that you?”
- Christmas Wrap Up Games~ We split into teams and raced to wrap each other as snowmen and Christmas trees.
Then it was time to break loose!
Leeland and Diamond having fun. Leeland discovered a magic tunnel under the TV!
Diamond enjoying our mess.
- Watching the popcorn maker~ I thought I’d bring it for my parents to enjoy too. Remember we got it for the Hugo party? Here’s the post:
Leeland drinking from his little cup
We ended by watching SuperBook’s Nativity:
Nana, Grandad, & the kids
- Jesse Tree ornament and inspiration for Day 17
17. Bethlehem (Mary & Joseph on their way)~ Read Micah 5:2-5. Jesus’ family tree has taken us to unexpected places. We’ve seen God use all kinds of people to grow this Jesse tree. We’ve seen God mend broken relationships, and we’ve seen God use the small and weak to confound the wise. You remember David, the shepherd boy who became King. He came from a small town called Bethlehem. He wrote Psalms on the hillside. The hills of little Bethlehem are also the dwelling of other shepherds. Angels proclaimed the good news…in little ol’ Bethlehem, a savior was born!
Now people around the world sing about how special Bethlehem is. Maybe you feel small and of little importance? Did you know that when you give your life to Jesus, all of Heaven rejoices over you? When God gets involved with us we can no longer be small. He makes us into something we could never imagine. God has a plan for you, bigger than you can dream. Your life will bring glory to God.There will be remarkable peace when you walk on the path Jesus has for you.
Activity: Build a city together using Legos or wooden blocks. Explain to the kids that just as they are making something magnificent out of blocks, God is building them into a masterpiece for His glory.
- Gingerbread Train
I mentioned Mortimer’s Christmas Manger a couple years ago. It’s a sweet story of a mouse that learns to make room for Jesus.
- Felt Gingerbread Man (Jingle Bells)~ I bought this kit at the Dollar Tree. I had to use hot glue to keep the pieces from falling off. We decided to name him after Leeland’s favorite song lately.
- Jesse Tree Ornament and Inspiration for Day 18
18. Esther’s Scepter~ Read Esther 4:10-16. Sometimes life seems to go horribly wrong. We feel sure about God’s plan for us but then something crazy happens. Maybe someone we love dies or we get in a car accident? Maybe we get very sick or lose our best friend? Hadassah, a Jewish orphan, had her life rocked to the core. She was taken from her home and forced to be in a Queen contest for a heathen king. Maybe it seems like a romantic dream to have the chance to win a King’s heart, but King Xerxes wasn’t a Godly man. He was not the best person.
Not to mention, that the King’s advisor, Haman, hated the Jews so much he wanted to kill them all. Hadassah had to change her name to Esther so no one would know she was a Jew. Esther’s safe life got scary crazy quick. Little Hadassah, now Esther, was chosen to be Queen. It wasn’t a bed of roses, though. She was chosen Queen because God was going to use her to save the Jews from Haman’s evil plan. Esther had to put her own life at risk to go before the King and beg for mercy. If the King extended the scepter then she would be safe, but if not…well, she would die.
If you’ve read the story then you know that everything works out. The King extends the scepter, Haman is executed, and the Jews are saved. End of story…happy ending. What if you could fast forward to the end of your story? If you belong to Jesus, I can tell you that your story will end well. You will end in the arms of Christ, and all those crazy things that happened in the middle won’t seem so bad.
Maybe you will even see a pattern…the Hand of God taking the rough bits and weaving them into beauty. We can see that in Esther’s story. Because of her story, we have the story of Jesus. You see, Jesus was Jewish, and God used Esther to save the Jews. I believe all of our stories touch the stories of others. I know I am who I am because God did amazing things in the lives of my grandparents. Likewise, my life will affect my children and their children. May we trust God and live a tale of faith that shapes generations!
Activity: Make Haman Hat cookies and dress up as royalty. Have a grand dinner. Ideas & recipes here: http://amberdover.com/category/holidays/purim/
God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover