- Holidays and Celebrations
Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany
WHERE TO BEGIN? AT OUR ADVENT CELEBRATION, THAT'S WHERE!
My favorite time of year begins this year on December 1, 2013. What is it? The first Sunday of Advent! Advent is the celebration of the first coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and it is also anticipating His Second Coming which is still to happen.
In our family, that is when our holiday celebrations begin. We put up our Christmas tree, make an advent wreath out of the extra boughs, and light our first candle on the wreath. We sing Christmas carols that we've collected into little family books over the years, and since our family is musical, some play instruments, some sing parts, and it is a wonderful experience altogether.
We continue to meet and read passages from the Bible or some of the wonderful Advent books that are out these days and sing, of course, every evening (if we can). When our children were small, we would do a craft, make cookies, decorate stockings, make candy, go caroling, do little skits about the Christmas story, play hand bells, make advent calendars, cereal box cut out luminaries, or any number of activities every night.
We would also put up our Nativity scene one figure at a time, the last figure being Jesus Christ, the infant in the manger, on Christmas Eve. The kids would open their stockings on Christmas eve, and we each would also write on a piece of paper what we personally want to give to Jesus Christ our Savior that year, then put it in a special present that is always under our tree--prominently displayed.
On Christmas day, we would sing joyful songs about Christ's coming, light the Christ Candle in the middle of the Advent wreath along with the other four candles that had already been lit on each Sunday of Advent. We would read the Christmas story from Luke Chapter 2, pray for one another and give our thanks to God for sending Jesus to be our Savior and Redeemer, then open our few presents.
We would continue to celebrate for the 12 Days of Christmas by doing things for others, as well as making crafts or cookies.
On Epiphany, the 12th Day of Christmas (January 6th), we would lay out all the Christmas cards we received and our family would vote on them according to several categories:
- the first card we received
- the most beautiful card
- the card with the most inspirational message
- the cutest card
- the best homemade card
- and the nicest photo Christmas card.
We would then send a "Christmas Award Certificate" to each of the people who won. It was a good way to remember who sent cards and what they said. We used to receive over 100 cards each year. It would draw our children's attention to the messages on the cards and help them remember who remembered us.
Then I would bake a cake with a quarter (or other large coin--make sure you sanitize it first!) in it. Whoever got the piece of cake with the coin in it was "king" or "queen" for the evening. Since Epiphany is the celebration of the visit of the Magi to worship the child Jesus Christ, our king or queen would be allowed to make declarations or grant requests. Of course, we would also sing songs about the Magi since singing is what we love to do!
Check out My Etsy Shop!
Great Ideas for Creative Advent Calendars
Check out these websites. They have some great new ideas for making your own creative and fun Advent calendars. Help your kids countdown the days till Christmas!
- 20 creative advent calendar ideas | Mum's Grapevine
On the first day of Christmas ... I made myself a stunning advent calendar! Take a look at these 20 ideas for creative Chrissy countdowns.
- Guest Picks: Fun and Unique Advent Calendars
The Thanksgiving turkey has been picked down to the bone and your cornucopia is packed away for next year. Now the Christmas countdown can officially begin! Advent calendars are a fun way to do so for...
Advent and Christmas Worksheets for Your Kids!
Great websites for activities for kids!
Are you looking for activities for your kids to do each day or each week of Advent? Here are some great worksheets that you can print from the web:
http://www.grandparents.com/gp/content/activitiesa... (I love Grandparents.com!)
Great Christmas Coloring Pages, Games, and Family Sing-Alongs
This website is great for wonderful family activities!
Check out http://www.grandparents.com/gp/content/expert-advi... and see their Family Holiday Pages where they have Christmas pictures to color, games for the whole family, and sing-along Christmas songs of all types. A wonderful addition to Advent and Epiphany activities!
Advent at Amazon
An R & B Christmas - My favorite style of music
We Keep Our Kids' Crafts Around for Ages - Advent Crafts
These are just a few of the plethora of things our kids made during Advent season. They are little books telling about the reason for Christmas, the way people celebrated in the nations where we were living at the time, or they illustrated Christmas songs in felt, lace, sequins, and glitter. They are precious memories of years gone by.
A Page from One of the Advent Books - By One of Our Little Girls
We were living on an island at the time.
About my life
I grew up on a little group of islands called the Republic of Palau. I learned to speak Palauan as a little girl, and feel like I'm about half Palauan and half American. It was a wonderful place to grow up right on a beach on the warm Pacific Ocean. I swam practically every day for 14 years.
My brother and I also loved to play in the jungle where there was a lot to do and discover. We'd chew sugarcane, eat pineapples or mangoes, and play war. There were many relics from WWII left at that time, so we would find helmets or rusty guns and have an all out war. We even discovered a foxhole when my brother fell into it. It had grown over with grass.
Now I'm an at-home transcriptionist. I love what I do because there's so much flexibility. I'm a mom, but our kids our all young adults now. They are kind of spread all over the place, so we travel every few months to visit them. We even have a grandchild. It's wonderful!
I told you I grew up on a beach on a little island!
My favorite thing about being a mom...
...is having four wonderful adult children, knowing I invested many years of my life training and rearing them in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord. Having three wonderful sons-in-law and three sweet granddaughters. Those are only a few of my favorite things about being a mom. There's nothing like it! Nothing in the world!
Our kids are not perfect but they are wonderful nevertheless. They are all responsible, working, college and grad school educated adults, who are responsible citizens and who love the LORD!
Wow, does that ever make it worth it for me to be their mom! I don't deserve such great kids!
Photo is of our family at our church's Harvest Faire. Our daughter (dressed up like Cindy Loo Who) is now married "Max" the Grinch's doggie!
What Comes to Your Mind When You Think of Christmas?
What Comes to Your Mind When You Hear the Word "Christmas"?
What's Christmas without a Tree--and a Free One at That! - Our Christmas Tree
ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS READINGS
The First Sunday of Advent
First Sunday and Week of Advent
Definition and Purpose of Celebrating Advent (according to Webster): "A coming; appropriately the coming of our Savior, and in the calendar, it includes four Sundays before Christmas…. It is intended as a season of devotion, with reference to the coming of Christ in the flesh, and his second coming to judge the world."
Light the first purple candle (the "Hope" candle or "Patriarchs" candle)
3. Sing "O, Come O, Come Immanuel" or "Emmanuel, Emmanuel, His Name is Called, Emmanuel" or "Joy to the World" (about Christ's Second Coming, and any other applicable Christmas songs you'd like to sing)
4. Read Scriptures
Isaiah 11:1-10 "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples--of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious."
Luke: 1:26-38 "In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!' But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.' And Mary said to the angel, 'How will this be, since I am a virgin?' And the angel answered her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.' And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Isaiah 7:10-14 "Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 'Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.' But Ahaz said, 'I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.' And he said, 'Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.'"
Matthew 1:18-24 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.' All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel' (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife."
Second Sunday of Advent
Second Sunday and Week of Advent
Light the 1st purple candle
Light the 2nd purple candle (the "Peace" candle or "Prophets" candle)
3. Sing "O Little Town of Bethlehem" or "We Three Kings" or (and any other appropriate carols)
Micah 5:2 "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days."
Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11 "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.'… After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Isaiah 2:1-5 "The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.' For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD."
Matthew 3:1-6 "In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight." Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.'"
Our Fam in 2000 (notice homemade luminaries on counter)
Our Family Advent/Thanksgiving at the Beach, 2010
11 Ideas of Activities You Can Do with Your Children for Advent
1. Make a birthday cake for Jesus and put one big candle on it. Don't forget to sing "Happy Birthday" to Him!
2. Make little books out of cardboard and paper, cover them with remnants of Christmas print fabric, and have them write something about Christmas and then decorate with glitter, sequins, t-shirt paint, crayons, lace, or whatever you have on hand.
3. Make your own stockings or potholders out of felt and decorate them and decorate them with glitter glue.
4. Buy and take toys or food to needy children, or have your kids sign up for Angel Tree (for children of inmates) or collect money from each child (and adult) and send a gift to those suffering in other countries.
5. Make ornaments or nativity scenes out of plastic canvas and yarn.
6. Make your own little carol book and go caroling together.
7. Make popcorn and cranberry strings for your Christmas tree.
8. Make Christmas hangings with felt, dowel rods, and fabric paint to give to family members.
9. Make jewelry with beads and findings to give as gifts.
10. Make a little present for Jesus that you can keep for years and fill it with pieces of paper that each person writes on. This is a good Christmas Day activity. Write what you want to give to or do better in your life for Jesus Christ that would be pleasing and honoring to Him--then keep them in the present under your tree.
11. Make Advent Luminaries out of cereal or cracker boxes. Turn the box inside out and paste or tape it back together. Carve windows with a knife or scissors and tape colored cellophane inside the box over the openings. Paint or use markers to decorate your luminary. Poke a hole in each side and insert a string across the top to carry it with. Tape a tea candle inside to the bottom, centered. Light it and enjoy the lovely colored effects! You can even hang them from your trees outside or line your sidewalk with them if it's not too windy.
Third Sunday of Advent
Third Sunday and Week of Advent
Light the 1st purple candle
Light the 2nd purple candle
Light the rose candle (the “Joy” candle or “John the Baptist” candle)
3. Sing: “Hallelujah Chorus” (if you can manage) or “Oh, How a Rose” or “He is Lord, He is Lord” (or any others you would like)
Isaiah 9:6-7 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”
John 1:19-34 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ." And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No." So they said to him, "Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" He said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said." (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Philippians 2:1-11 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
CHRISTMAS TREES AROUND THE WORLD--Frankfurt, Germany
A Tiny Roadside Chapel in Germany
Galeries Lafayette, Paris, France
Our Fam 2009
London's Trafalgar Square
Gubbia, Italy--the largest of all!
Fourth Sunday and Week of Advent
Fourth Sunday and Week of Advent
Light the 1st purple candle
Light the 2nd purple candle
Light the rose candle
Light the 4th purple candle (the “Love” candle or “Mary the mother of Jesus” candle)
3. Sing “Coming Again” or “The King is Coming” (or any other carols you prefer)
Malachi 3:1-5 "Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. "Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.
Romans 8:18-25 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Isaiah 52:7-10 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the LORD to Zion. Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Revelation 21:1-4 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
Christmas Day or Christmastide
Christmas Day and Christmastide
1. Directions for 5-Candle Wreaths
Light 4 preceding candles, then Light the center white candle (the “Christ” candle or “Christ, the Light of the World” candle)
3. Suggested Activity: Before you open your presents, write on slips of paper what you would like to give to Jesus Christ this year for His birthday. Seal them in a special little present (they’re confidential!) and pray asking the Lord to help you follow through with your gift to Him.
4. Sing “Away in a Manger” or “What Child Is This?” or “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night” or “We Light a Thousand Candles” (or other appropriate carols)
Isaiah 9:1-6 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Luke 2:1-20 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
John 1:1-18 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'") And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
SONGS TO SING ON EPIPHANY OR TWELFTH NIGHT--JANUARY 6th
The 12 Days of Christmas (alternative words)
1. On the first day of Christmas a vision came to me, a Child born to set the world free.
2. On the second day of Christmas a vision came to me, two evergreens and a Child born to set the world free.
3. On the third day of Christmas a vision came to me, three fruitcakes... (repeat the rest).
4. On the fourth day of Christmas a vision came to me, four manger scenes...
5. On the fifth day of Christmas a vision came to me, five shopping malls...
6. On the sixth day of Christmas a vision came to me, six cards with blessings...
7. On the seventh day of Christmas a vision came to me, seven plates of dressing...
8. On the eighth day of Christmas a vision came to me, eight choir rehearsals...
9. On the ninth day of Christmas a vision came to me, nine cash dispersals...
10. On the tenth day of Christmas a vision came to me, ten trees for trimming...
11. On the eleventh day of Christmas a vision came to me, eleven stockings brimming...
12. On the twelfth day of Christmas a vision came to me, twelve diets slimming, eleven stockings brimming, ten trees for trimming, nine cash dispersals, eight choir rehearsals, seven plates of dressing, six cards with blessings, five shopping malls, four manger scenes, three fruitcakes, two evergreens, and a Child born to set the world free!
As with Gladness Men of Old
1. As with gladness men of old did the guiding star behold;
AS with joy they hail'd it's light, leading onward, beaming bright.
So, most gracious Lord, may we evermore be led by Thee!
2. As with joyful steps they sped, Savior to Thy lowly bed,
There to bend the knee before Thee whom heav'n and earth adore,
So may we with willing feet ever seek Thy mercyseat.
3. Holy Jesus every day keep us in the narrow way;
And when earthly things are past, Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide, where no clouds Thy glory hide.
March of the Three Kings
1. Three great kings came from the Orient
A star shone brightly showing them the highway,
Robed were they in costliest raiment
With crowns and jewels in a fine display.
They carried gifts in casks of gold
For the lowborn Christ-child we were told,
We joined their band and marched with them
To find the holy Child of Bethlehem.
2. And we saw the star stop o'er a stall
Its bright light streamed forth a holy glow, and
It revealed the Babe so dear and small,
In swaddling garments in a manger low.
We bow'd our knees in wondrous awe
Singing God's praises, "Alleluia!"
His shining star led these three wise men
To find the holy Child of Bethlehem.
What Can I Give Him?
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man I would do my part
Yet what can I give Him? I'll give Him my heart.
One Small Child
1. One small child in a land of a thousand,
One small dream of a Savior tonight,
One small hand reaching out to the starlight,
One small city of life. Ohhhhhhh.
2. One king bringing his gold and riches,
One King ruling and army of might,
One king kneeling with incense and candlelight,
One King bringing us life. Ohhhhhhh.
See Him lying a cradle beneath Him,
See Him smiling in the stall,
See His mother praising the Father,
See His tiny eyelids fall.
3. One small light from the flame of a candle,
One small light from a city of might,
One small light from the stars in the endless night,
One small light from a fa....ce. Ohhhhhh.
See the shepherds kneeling before Him,
See the kings on bended knee.
See His mother praising the Father,
See the Blessed Infant sleep.
4. One small Child in a land of a thousand,
One small dream in a people of might.
One small hand reaching out to the starlight
One small Savior of li...fe. Ohhhhhh.
Epiphany Choir--Very Cute!
Who Celebrates Epiphany Traditionally?
Read this news article and find out which churches or religions celebrate Epiphany as a tradition. The way they celebrate is different than the way our family celebrates it, but it's nice to read about what other people are doing in other countries. Here's the link:
17-year-old retrieves Epiphany cross - It took about a minute for one of the divers to retrieve the cross from Spring Bayou during the annual Epiphany celebrati
Epiphany celebration is held every January 6th
Epiphany observances began with a church service at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, followed by a procession to the spring, blessing of the waters and cross retrieval.
Whoever recovers the cross is said to be blessed for a full year.
Last year, it only took 18-year-old Chris Kavouklis, of Tampa, seconds to find the cross.
Judges pick the divers based on essays about their faith and about the Epiphany. The participants can start diving at age 16 and can do so until they're 18.
More about the Epiphany
Many western Christians celebrate the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, as the day that the Three Kings or Magi visited the infant Jesus.
According to the Bible, a star guided the Three Kings/Magi to Bethlehem. The Three Kings/Magi are said to have brought three gifts with them for Jesus: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Some churches, primarily eastern Christian churches, celebrate the Epiphany as the day Jesus was baptized.
Puerta del Sol, Madrid, Spain
All Glass Tree, Venice, Italy
Times Square, New York, New York
Christmas & Epiphany Gift Giving Practices Around the World
Gifts on Epiphany:
In Argentina, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and most areas of Mexico, the wise men leave the presents on the eve of Epiphany.
Gifts on Christmas:
Children in some Latin-American countries, including Brazil, Colombia, and parts of Mexico, receive gifts on Christmas Day.
Puerto Ricans now celebrate such American holidays as July 4 and Memorial Day. Traditionally Christmas was celebrated on Three Kings Day (Epiphany, January 6). Since shops and television programs announce the arrival of Santa Claus on December 25, however, both days are celebrated. Ethopia:
In Ethiopia, members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church hold religious services on Christmas, January 7. The major celebration takes place nearly two weeks later at Epiphany. Food for camels instead of cookies for Santa:
Youngsters in many Spanish-speaking nations have a similar custom. However, they leave the food for the camels of the Wise Men and put the shoes outside a window on the eve of Epiphany. The Magi place small gifts in the shoes during the night. The custom of hanging stockings by the fireplace probably developed from those traditions.
According to legend, the Wise Men asked the kindly old witch to accompany them to see the infant Jesus. She refused, saying she was too busy and had to clean her house, and so she missed the wondrous sight. Each year, La Befana goes from house to house, leaving gifts and looking for the Christ child.
In Spain, people dance and sing in the streets after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Most Spanish homes and churches display a miniature Nativity scene called a Nacimiento. During the evening of January 5, children put their shoes on a balcony or near a window. The next day is Epiphany, the last day of the Christmas season. It celebrates the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus. According to legend, the Wise Men arrive during the night before Epiphany and fill the children's shoes with small gifts.
Traditionally, in some countries, such as Italy and Spain, children do not receive gifts until January 5, the eve of Epiphany. In Spain, children leave their shoes outside filled with straw and barley for the magi's animals and hope that presents will be left by the wise man Balthazar.
As in the rest of Spain, most of the people are Roman Catholic, and the major city festivals celebrate saints' days. Twelve days after Christmas, on the feast of the Epiphany (the day the three wise men are said to have reached Bethlehem), a boat comes into the harbor bearing "three kings" who then parade through the streets.
In Italy, La Befana brings presents on the eve of Epiphany.
In Italy, most homes and churches have a presepio (Nativity scene). On Christmas Eve, the family prays while the mother places a figure of the Bambino (Christ child) in the manger. Many Italians serve eels for dinner on Christmas Eve. They also bake a Christmas bread called panettone, which contains raisins and candied fruit. Italian children receive gifts from La Befana, a kindly old witch, on the eve of Epiphany.
Traditionally, in some countries, such as Italy and Spain, children do not receive gifts until January 5, the eve of Epiphany. According to Italian folklore, an old woman named Befana goes down chimneys and delivers presents to children on that night, just as the three wise men brought gifts to the infant Jesus.
the Vatican, Italy
Unknown But Beautiful Location!
Our Own Washington D.C.
Just for fun: Books I recommend
I haven't read any of these books, but I'm sure there are great deals on Amazon on new or used Advent Readings, Christmas books, Christmas Carols, or even historical books about Advent or Epiphany. I'm sure they also sell wonderful Advent Calendars for those of you who have small children.
I would encourage anyone to write me about the content of my lens. I'm happy to answer questions or help moms or dads get their own Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany celebrations going!
A Few Movies That I Recommend for Your Family at Christmas time - You can get DVD's affordably at Amazon
What Advent and Christmas Is All About
It's wonderful to be able to read about other people's unique celebrations surrounding Christmas and Advent and Hannukah, as well. Please take a moment to write some!