Advent is less than a month from beginning! Now is the time to plan and gather our game plan to make this advent meaningful to our families. Here are two additions to our family traditions this year.
A Gospel Advent Calendar & The Christmas Star
A Gospel Advent Calendar– Maite Roche ~ Magnificat ~ Ignatius Press
The Christmas Star – Magnificat ~ Ignatius Press
If you are like me you have a pintrest board full of beautiful handmade (high maintenance) advent calendars. Especially if you aren’t artistically gifted, they just don’t turn out quite as you pictured. It’s especially bad if your kids aren’t drawn to it after all the effort you’ve put in. So when an affordable, beautiful, everything is done for you option comes along and the kids cannot keep their hands off of it, everybody wins! A Gospel Advent Calendar is just that option!
The front has a picture of an angel announcing to the Shepherds against a brilliant blue night sky, “I bring you tidings of Great Joy!” Opening the calendar, you’ll find a full color village with people going about daily tasks, animals, and even far off in the distance the three wise men on their way. The windows are numbered so you know when to open them, and you’ll find a picture which matches a picture in the companion booklet attached to the back of the advent calendar.
“Help your child enter, day after day, into the joyful expectancy of Advent.” YES! That’s exactly what I, as a mother and educator of my child, am looking for! Every day you open a window to find the full color illustration. Open the booklet and read a short Bible verse about the scene to encourage further meditation on it. There is a short prayer included and if you wish your child can color the picture, doubling the booklet as a coloring book as well. When folded out, this advent calendar makes a beautiful display to keep up throughout the season of advent.
Next is the board book, The Christmas Star, one of four currently in the First Steps of Faith Series by Ignatius Press. Following the journey of the three wise men to Jesus, I realized as I read it this would be the perfect book to use for our Three Kings Search I have planned for this year! Every night I’ll hide the three kings starting far away from our nativity, and every day they can find them in different places closer and closer to the Nativity until Epiphany when they will finally be found worshiping the Christ Child.
Right away, the picture on the cover features the colors of advent, so it ties into my theme beautifully. It draws the attention not to the star or the camels which are easy to focus on, but on the fact that the three kings worshiped and gave Jesus priceless gifts which foreshadowed his future. Depending on the ages of your children you can expand on this or wait for them to be a little older.
The colors and artwork are gorgeous. My boys sit and soak in each page excitedly pointing out all the little things they discover and are learning as we read. The language is simple, leaving lots of room to expand as you wish for whatever ages and development stages you are reading too. It is a board book, which makes me feel safe reading it with the baby in my lap and the older boys on either side. It’s the beginning of November, but after reading it the first time at bedtime, my two year old requested to look in the sky for the star the three kings followed. Of course I let him and we climbed up on the window sill to search for stars with me while he told me the story in his own words.
If you’d like to use this book to go alongside the hunt for the wisemen, I have several favorite nativity scenes which I love for letting my kids play with. This is one of our favorites which Saint Nicholas brought us a few years ago, chew and drool safe nativity set by Fisher Price . It plays “Away in a Manger” if you put the angel in position on the top of the stable, and features and on and off switch which comes in handy when your kids love this feature a little too much some days. On my wish list is this friendly and colorful wooden nativity set by Hallmark. Hint, hint, Saint Nicholas! Both have Three Wise Men who can be easily hidden as they journey. I found that there are three other board books that go in this First Steps in Faith series, which I have also added to my personal wishlist, you can find them by clicking the following titles: Christmas!, Our Father, and Hail Mary (which I will add a link for when it becomes available to order).
I am so excited to be adding these simple and fun activities for the kids. Already they are proving to be drawing them to “enter into joyful expectancy of Advent” as they look forward to beginning to use these beautiful items.
Get your copies now!
A Gospel Advent Calendar