Reading: May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again, Rejoice! Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
Reflection/prayer: Let’s pray each day that the joy we know, the joy that is in our hearts, will be reflected in our lives. “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 144:15) “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace.” (Isaiah 55:12)
Activity for today: If you haven’t yet put out a Nativity set, now would be a good time for it. We always had a large one on display. It started out with only Mary and Joseph and some animals in the stable. The shepherds and Wise Men would be placed elsewhere around the room or the house and each day we’d move them a little closer to the manger (the shepherds of course arriving long before the Wise Men who didn’t get there until Epiphany, January 6th). My daughter loved to be given the privilege of adding baby Jesus and the angel to the scene on Christmas Eve. Along with this large ceramic display set, we had a “child safe” set that was made available to my daughter. I never actually set it up – I’d just give her the set and let her decide how she wanted to arrange it. She spent hours, day after day, arranging and rearranging the pieces and “acting out” the story of Jesus’ birth again and again. Hers was just a sturdy plastic set that I happened to find the Christmas that she was 2 but I’ve seen a really nice set from Fisher Price featuring their “Little People” figurines. If you want something “craftier” to do with your family, how about making a Nativity set or scene? Our treasured ceramic set is one that my mom and I made together but there are lots of options out there, including many child friendly ones.
Here’s one made from popsicle sticks: http://www.whattoexpect.com/BLOGS/astudentatmamauniversity/nativity-crafts-for-kids-popsicle-stick-nativity
This one uses clay pots for the figures and popsicle sticks for the stable: http://designdazzle.blogspot.com/2011/11/make-your-own-childrens-nativity-set.html
Here’s another one using clothespins: http://www.craftsdirect.com/default.aspx?PageID=311&ProjectID=690
Gingerbread Snowflakes makes these lovely yarn wrapped angels and other figures – I think they’d make an amazing Nativity set: http://gingerbreadsnowflakes.com/node/415
And finally, here’s a toilet paper tube Nativity set: http://amysfreeideas.com/English/Toilet_Paper_Tube_Nativity_set.html