Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Christmas is Coming & For Heaven's Sake (Part 2)

Recently I blogged about how pleased I am that we are bringing up our children up with as strong a faith foundation as we can, with the help of a wonderful faith community. And about our efforts to make Christmas about Jesus at least as much as it is about presents and all the wonderfully fun stuff that well, isn't.

And I am just thrilled with how it is going. Their aunt gave me a link to a website with wonderful crafts...both secular and Jesus oriented. I think these have been a big part of their growing excitement. THey love the crafts, the act of making things...and they are tied to Christmas and so I think the excitement transfers to Christmas.

But they are also excited at the Advent time about JESUS. Evan keeps talking about Jesus "coming". I hope he isn't expecting him to walk through the door Christmas morning. ;-) But I love that he is excited about celebrating Jesus's birthday at this period of time. As I mentioned in Christmas is Coming, I grew up not even really knowing what Advent was.

We made some cards with candles cut out of pieces of construction paper..this actually came from a book published by the Le Leche League that their Godmother Jane sent me. Evan doesn't want to send it as a Xmas card, he wants to send it as a birthday card to Jesus. We've made Christmas trees out of green paper and glued ornaments on. Amelie insisted on gluing the ornaments on herself. This just pleases me to no end. She is so sure of herself. I hope she never loses that. I hope I only enhance the feeling and never do anything to undermine it. After putting them on the refrigerator, she pointed to it every day. We made snowman puppets. I had to cut out the shapes...and these snowmen looked pretty sad. They ADORED them.

Hope Church is celebrating Advent in part by starting worship with the children laying a path to Christmas and lighting an Advent candle. As Pastor Wendy noted, they approached this activity with such Awe and Wonder. (Capitals, yeah!). The first week they laid down paper "leaves" to lay a paht for Jesus. The second week they laid a path of "water" for Him. They both came back to our pew smiling ear to ear. And they are also attending the Sunday School each Sunday now...for the whole time before they come back for Communion! (I just love that children are part of communion).

And their godmother Jane sent us two lovely Christmas books,The Christmas Baby by Sally An Wright, and The Moon Shines Down by Margaret Wise Brown. Evan just adores the pop up manger scene in THe Christmas Baby. He keeps asking why it folds up in the book. ;-) After I read it each night, he wants to hold it and look at it, and has fallen asleep with it in his arm. And he asks so many *questions* about the places talked about in The Moon Shines Down. We all love the artwork, and MWB's language is as beautiful as it is in Big Red Barn. It only mentions Christmas at the end...but it is after showing the experiences of young people all over the world...and so the child knows a little about each of those places before being told (or reminded) that Christmas is celebrated in lots of places.

I'm especially thrilled to have these because we only had A House Mouse Christmas. It is a lovely sweet book with beautiful illustrations (I really love House Mouse designs), but it has nothing to do with Jesus. We'll also be getting Bear Stays Up for Christmas (by the author of Bear Snores On...a Kelly Household favorite) from Nana. But we're looking right now for more childrens' books about Christmas, both secular but also especially ones about Jesus. I am eager to have a bigger collection next year.

And Evan told me tonight, "I don't want Santa to come, just Jesus". My eyes really started to tear up. It was the sweetness of what he said, but it was more just incredible gratitude that for all my poking around in the dark about what and how to teach my babies about Christmas, and not a lot of teaching on my son is really into Jesus and his birthday!We will be doing Santa, on the modest side. But I'm thrilled my kids knew much more about Jesus before ever even HEARING the name Santa. I think they will get a big kick out of Santa...and I am really excited to leave out cookies with them (and carrots for the Reindeer). And the giggling and not wanting to go to sleep, but wanting Christmas morning to come. THe plan right now is to not be home on Christmas morning this year or next, but I'm already looking forward to Christmas morning 2011

So the Kelly home doesn't have its Christmas tree yet, and the only decorations we have up are the ones the children have made. But it sooo doesn't matter to the kids. They are already beginning to understand what Christmas is really about...and they're plenty excited about that.

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