“We only have a few days left, mama!”
My son’s excitement rings out as he flips through his Bible each morning, checking to see how many days remain until Christmas morning. It’s part of our December Advent activity, working our way through the Jesus Storybook Bible. Each day we read a story from the Old Testament, leading up to the birth of Christ, and make an ornament to accompany it.
It’s been one of my favourite parts of this month: sitting down next to each other at the kitchen table and carefully turning soft pages, reading about God’s great plan together.
His excitement is tangible, his anticipation building. I’ve never seen him so eager to read his Bible. Not only are we uncovering the meaning of Advent, we’re also building a deeper love for God’s word. As we bend little pieces of wire and glue popsicle sticks together, we see how each of these stories point to Christmas morning — to the birth and life of Christ. God’s grand narrative is wrapped together better than any present we might find under our tree.
Here’s what we’ve been learning this week:
December 11: God Makes A Way
According to Alistair, today’s reading was about “the party of the Red Sea.” And I thought, you know what, that’s pretty accurate too. Because when God moves in big ways it’s only a natural reaction for us to celebrate. It’s why we celebrate Christmas — because God moved in the biggest, most extraordinary of ways. He sent His son to be born fully God and fully man, to rescue a world in desperate need of a Saviour. Just as He brought His people out of slavery so many years before, He would do it once again on a wooden cross. And that deserves an all-year, every day type of celebration.
Today’s craft was a bit of a challenge to come up with and so, in the end, we cut up some blue and white string and swirled it around in a glass globe to represent the miracle at the sea. A simple but effective reminder to hang on our tree.
December 12: Ten Ways To Be Perfect
As we fall deeper in love with God, we learn to love His laws too. They’re not set in place to stop us from “having fun” but rather, give us another opportunity to glorify God and find immense joy in Him. And yet, He knew that we could never do it on our own. That we could never meet the standard set before us. And so, He gave us something greater still than the law. He gave us His own son.
December 13: The Warrior King
Today’s reading came from the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho. I had big plans for today’s ornament: including a walk around the neighbourhood hunting for rocks. Said plans were ruined by the monsoon outside my window (oh hello Vancouver weather, you’ve returned.) But fortunately, little boys are known to collect and store rocks throughout the house and I managed to track down this pebble someone had stuffed in my coat pocket a few weeks ago. While the craft is a bit different than I’d originally envisioned, I love the simplicity of this single rock hanging from some twine. A little rock that reminds us of the BIG God we serve.
December 14: The Teeny, Weeny, True King
This is probably my favourite ornament so far, I love the way it glitters on the tree. Such a perfect reminder that from the line of David would one day come another unexpected choice for a King — an infant born in a stable.
“And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom
he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man
after my heart, who will do all my will.” Acts 13:22 (ESV)
December 15: The Young Hero And the Horrible Giant
The echoing reminder for us across this Advent study is of God’s faithfulness even in times of great uncertainty and fear. And what kid doesn’t love the story of David and Goliath? We serve a God who is bigger and greater and stronger than anything the world throws our way — who came to rescue us from more than just our physical enemies but from death itself.
Today’s craft: a slingshot made with mini-popsicle sticks, some twine and felt.
December 16: The Good Shepherd
Today’s reading was centred around Psalm 23. We talked about shepherds and their job, and how Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Honestly, this discussion seemed to go a bit above my four-year-old’s head, but that’s okay too. Sometimes it’s just about planting seeds of thought to dwell on later. (His understanding of shepherds, however, is impressive. He tells me, “I already know ALL about shepherds. They lead sheep from field to field to find grass to eat. I learned about it on Netflix.”)
According to my four-year-old, today’s craft also apparently looks like a dog. **Cue his hysterical laughter, and constant (and slightly creepy) soft whispering into my ear, “It’s a dooooooggggggg…”**
December 17: The Young Servant Girl And The Proud General
This was the story of Naaman and his little servant girl. A story of forgiveness and the healing not only of skin from leprosy but hearts from sin. I love this final quote from the Jesus Storybook Bible, “Years later, God was going to send another Servant, to forgive as she did — to forgive all of God’s children and heal the terrible sickness in their hearts.” God is in the business of healing hearts.
Today’s craft took the form of a heart made of red beads and gold wire. I’ll say that we only beaded half the heart to represent the transforming work of Christ in our lives, but it may also have been because Alistair got tired of stringing tiny beads.
If you’re just following along now, be sure to check out the rest of our Advent activities here: