Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Innkeeper's Key

The Idea Room posted a great idea to make a small gift to share a bit of Christmas spirit. It is called the Innkeeper's Key and it is intended to help us to remember to make room in our lives for the Savior.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas and believe in the Bible, this idea is really universal. It would make a nice simple and inexpensive gift for a neighbor or friend.
Here is the poem:

A Prayer for December

Dearest God,
Please never let me
Crowd my life
Full to the brim
So like the keeper of Bethlehem's inn
I find I have no room for Him.

Instead, let my heart's door
Be ever open,
Ready to welcome
The newborn king.
Let me offer the best I have
To Him
Who gives me everything.
-author unknown

After Christmas the key could be placed on your key ring to remind you all year to make room for the Savior in your life. Thanks Amy for sharing this great idea!

Clay Pot Nativity

We had so much fun with our grandchildren making nativities out of small clay pots, large wooden beads and felt. The one pictured above was made by our 5 year old grandson. Total cost for materials for one set was less than $2, but I think the result is priceless!

Materials needed:
2 small clay pots
1 small clay saucer
2 large wooden beads
1 wooden clothespin or wooden craft person (for baby Jesus), could use wood craft stick
scraps of felt or other fabric
rafia or hay
glue gun
paint or perm. marker for faces

Thursday, December 3, 2009

12 Days of CHRISTmas

A new book published this year The Twelve Days of Christmas by Betty Van Orden, has so many ideas for carrying out the 12 days of Christmas for your family and loved ones.

We were particularly interested in her ideas for 12 days of focusing more on the Savior. She Chooses a theme such as Following the Savior, or The Reason for the Season or Angels Among Us and brainstorms ways to carry out the theme for 12 days teaching about the Savior and creating memories for her family. For instance one day there might be a new Christmas book to read together and beautiful beads and cord to make family bookmarks. Another day she would plan a service activity or present the story of Teach the Children (found on this site) with a small bag of objects that correlate with the story.

We found her ideas to be a wonderful mix of ideas that enhance teaching moments and ideas that are just fun and create lasting memories. Reading her book was a great spring board for creating plans for our own family, one idea led to another.....this would be as much fun to prepare for as to carry out. She would prepare for all 12 days, choose stories and activities and wrap each day individually, then place them in a big plastic storage container, even preparing these for family members who lived far away.

We can all thoughtfully and prayerfully consider ways to bring our family closer to each other and to the Savior (and have fun at the same time).

A Jesse Tree

A Jesse tree is a small tree decorated with symbols portraying the spiritual heritage of Christ. A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse. (Isa 11:1) Jesse was the father of David who was to establish a royal family. A thousand years later Jesus was born in this royal line in Bethlehem.

A Jesse tree can be made by using a small Christmas tree or branch from an evergreen tree. It could be a bare tree branch potted in plaster of paris or placed in a vase. It could simply be created by taping a branch cut from paper on the wall.

Each day a scripture is read and a symbol hung on the tree. The scriptures begin with Adam and Eve and include such stories as Noah's ark, Abraham, Elijah, David, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and the birth of Christ.

There are many links to Jesse trees on the internet or books to purchase that include ready made ornaments that can be used as sources to create your own tree.

Much of the value in this project is in choosing which stories your family will use, reading the scripture and having your children create a drawing to go with the scripture to hang on the tree. At the end of December, a picture of the manger with baby Jesus could be hung at the top of the tree.
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