The season our children have waited for all year is finally here…at least it is very close. For us, this holiday season has been set in motion with a trip to Illinois for Thanksgiving where we are spending time with family we don’t see often throughout the year. Time is sprinkled with cousins, delicious food, watching the deer eat the last remnants of corn in the fields surrounding my mother-in-laws house, and lots of rest.
We are very settled into the holiday of Thanksgiving that is just days before us, but eager for the Advent season that lies ahead. Prior to leaving home we dried a few oranges and made some cinnamon star ornaments (as you see in these photos). Other than that, our halls still need to be decked and our tree is still waiting to be chosen.
There were many times prior to leaving that I considered decorating everything so that it would be waiting for us when we returned. Rushing past Thanksgiving and entering into the Christmas season was very tempting, but in the end, seeing Thanksgiving through to the end won. Over and over again I was reminded to not run and skip past a season that turns our hearts toward what we are grateful for. I’m so glad I held on because what has seemed to echo very loudly the last week or so in my heart is the gratefulness I feel toward our Savior. The waiting has been a perfect introduction to the advent season which in its simplest definition is a season that we set aside time to prepare and wait for the celebration of Jesus. Now, I can fully turn my heart toward that season.
This month we will be focusing on the season of Advent and the birth of Christ. I hope that this bundle helps you gather your family together often and prepare your hearts for the celebration of Christmas.
Music and Poetry
The past two years choosing a piece of music for December has seemed to be very difficult. There are so many songs to choose from but also many preferences people have when it comes to Christmas music. Often preferences tend to get in the way when allowing music to speak to us and I want to make sure to keep those at bay as much as possible. As an over thinker it is always hard for me to choose one that I believe stands on middle ground. This month, I am happy to say, that I believe I found the perfect one for this study. I really want to encourage you to not skip past the music this month. The more I have listened to it, the more appreciation I have developed for it’s words and meaning. The music this month will add so much depth and meaning to this months Morning Time plan, if you will allow it to.
The music we will be listening to is Love Came Down at Christmas. Even though the song is clearly a Christmas carol it is one that is not played very often. The words are written by Christina Rossetti and are also our poetry selection for the month.
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Stars and Angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
Christina Rossetti first published this poem in a collection of poems that was dedicated to her mother. It was set to music as a Christmas carol by many composers but is not known for any particular tune. After listening to numerous versions, I came to love this one most. It will be the one we will use in our Morning Time.
The selection this month is Father and Son Picking Christmas Tree by Franz Kruger. Although probably unknown to most of us, Kruger was the most in demand military and portrait painter in Berlin during his time. Even though this painting really doesn’t fall into either of these categories I believe it does an incredible job showcasing his talent and drawing us in to this old fashioned Christmas scene (that really doesn’t feel old fashioned at all). It is incredible that a piece of art created in the 1800’s can still speak to us today. This piece feels very timeless and is a great one for art study.
This month’s bundle includes a scripture for memorization as well as an additional reading. We will be reading the scripture to memorize numerous times throughout each week of the month and the additional reading we will be doing only a few times throughout the month and on Christmas Eve.
The memorization portion is a selection from Matthew 2:9-11 and describes the scene of the wise men following the star to the place when Jesus was and then offering their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to him. This scripture reminds us that all of creation is God’s to use as he pleases. In the Old Testament we know that God used a cloud to guide the Israelites out of the desert and into the Promised Land. In the Christmas story God used a star to guide the wise men to the Christ child. These symbols are wonderful reminders of the mercy and love God shows toward us.
In July’s bundle we learned about the summer stars. To continue our theme from the scripture memory this month we will be learning about the winter stars. In the bundle you all see that I have referenced pages from The Handbook of Nature Study and Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey. After borrowing Find the Constellations from the library for our July study I found that this book was a really great resource for studying the night sky and decided to purchase one of our own. Admittedly, teaching and studying the stars, constellations, and the moon are not a strength of mine. The addition of this book has been very helpful.
This month, the primary focus will be on Orion, The Pleiades, The Two Dog Stars, Sirius and Procyon, Capella, and The Heavenly Twins. You will find the page number where each of these stars is referenced (from each book) on the printable included in this bundle. I will also be sure to reference on Instagram or Facebook any additional resources I find for this study as we go along.
These cute little stars you see in the pictures this month are our December craft. These were super simple, smell amazing, and will last for years if stored correctly. Although they resemble gingerbread cookies these are not edible. Be sure to let your little ones know!
To make these ornaments you will need the following:
- 1 Cup Cinnamon
- 3/4 Cup Applesauce
- 1 Tbsp Nutmeg or Ground Cloves
- 2 tbsp White Glue
- Star Shaped Cookie Cutter
Simple combine all of the ingredients together making sure to mix well. I found that the mixture held together better once we began mixing by hand. If your mixture is a little bit runny just add a little more cinnamon. Once all of the ingredients are combined lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and then roll out your dough to 1/4″ thick. Use the cookie cutter to cut out your shapes. If you would like to use your stars as ornaments use a straw or a skewer to “punch” a whole in one of the stars points before drying.
You can allow these to air dry, which will take a couple of days or you can dry them in the oven. I chose to dry ours in the oven. To do so simply turn your oven to the lowest setting and allow to dry for 1-2 hours flipping carefully every 30 minutes to avoid one side getting to brown or folding up.
Once dry you can string a ribbon through them, make a garland, or place them in a bowl to enjoy as a simple display.
We are cruising along nicely with our president study and have come to our 4th President of the United States, James Madison. We are using The Big Book of Presidents: from George Washington to Barack Obama as our spine for this study.
One of the greatest contributions James Madison made to our nation is the outline he created of a balanced government that was composed of three branches. This system has been the backbone of our country and has proven itself to be a success. Here is a brief biography on James Madison for you to enjoy during your study. Some other educational sparks you may wish to chase during the study of this president may include: the 3 branches of government, checks and balances, the War of 1812, Montpellier, and the burning of the White House.
Finally we come to one of my favorite portions of the Morning Time Bundles, the food! This month I wanted to keep the recipe simple. There are so many things going on in the month of December I thought it would be good to include something easy, yet delicious. This is one of my favorite go-to recipes especially during the winter months. This month we will making orange rolls that use frozen yeast rolls from the grocery store. The prep work in incredibly easy and the rolls taste delicious, just be sure to allow plenty of time for the rolls to rise. These would be perfect for a holiday brunch or to enjoy on Christmas morning. I hope you enjoy them!
- The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung
- The Jesus Storybook Bible
- Jotham’s Journey: a Storybook for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide
- The Bible Project: Advent video resources for understanding Advent
Thank you so much for your continued support of these Morning Time Bundles. I hope you enjoy this month’s selections and that they draw you continuously closer to the heart of our Savior. May he fill you will all hope, joy, and peace as you cling to him this Christmas.