I wrote a poem when my boys were younger that shares how each part of the tree is a reminder of the time when Christ was born. Here is how it goes:
A Message From Your Christmas TreeWe also had some lessons in our ladies bible study group that had some neat ideas about using the advent calendar, candles and other traditions as hands on ways to share the message of Christmas and keep us mindful of the reason we choose to celebrate it. A book she shared that was a great resource for her was the ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Welchel.
As Christmas nears there is a lot to do,
shopping, cooking and decorating too.
With all this bustling it's easy to leave out,
what Christmas time is really about.
So this year when you put up your tree,
tell someone the secret meaning of me.
I'm an evergreen tree that you choose to use,
like Jesus' love you will never lose.
The lights on me that sparkle and shine,
tells that Jesus is this light of mine.
From my branches hang ornaments, shiny and new
like the heart that was changed inside of you.
As the wise men followed the bright shining star,
mine reminds us that Jesus is never far.
The angels sang praises on Jesus' birth,
mine symbolizes that day he came to live on earth.
And as the presents lay underneath it all,
remember that Jesus is the greatest gift of all.
I was very unfamiliar with anything that dealt with Advent but I learned that there are many neat symbols we can use as tools to help teach our children about Christmas and what it really is all about. Having a child that is very much a hands on learner, I think I will start implementing these ideas in a greater degree next year. For this year I decided to start with the Advent Calendar which will do two things for me, help my daughter see for herself how many days until Christmas (so she will stop asking me every few minutes!) and offer us a lesson and Scripture for each day.
DLTK is a site that I often go to for very simple craft and coloring pages. Having remembered seeing they had some advent calendars and other activities I went to the DLTK Advent Activities page and started searching. I found two things we are doing this year because they were simple and easy to implement without any planning. One is the simple printable Christmas Tree Calendar Craft. That is how we keep track of the days. Each time that we do this I also print up one of the Christmas Story Advent Coloring Pages that has a picture and bible verse for each day from December 1 to Christmas day. That keeps our focus on the meaning of the holiday. At the end she will have a nice book with the entire Christmas story in it that she made by herself.
Here you see Gess between the tree she helped put up and decorate and her advent calendar on the wall. She is holding one of her pictures of the coloring book. I think she will truly have a better understanding of our Christmas heritage after all this is said and done.