The kids loved the giant pictures in the Life of Christ book. We also finished The True Saint Nicholas. This is a great book and really added a great perspective to our older children who don't believe in Santa Claus and our younger children who don't even doubt for a minute. We learned so many things about St. Nicholas that we will never forget. I highly recommend it! Molly also received a book, Fear Not, Joseph, from her godmother. It is written from Joseph's point of view. This was hard to read without tearing up!
O Father of the House of Israel
The children enjoyed making graham cracker houses for a small village. This was a lot of fun in spite of my hating to make them. The children are able to do a lot by themselves so I didn't get as dirty as I thought I would.
O Rod of Jesse
I love, love, love our poinsettia. It adds such a beautiful look to our living room and really makes it feel like Christmas is coming!
O Key of David
The keychains were a hit with the kids. They loved seeing the Spanish versions of their names and reading the virtues associated with them.
The kids really brightened up the Marian Center in St. Paul with their singing and playing. I am so happy they were not too shy to sing for the residents. Daddy was so happy that I took the kids over to sing that he gave me the night off and made the breakfast dinner. I'll have to admit that he's better at making pancakes!!
O King of the Gentiles
Remember I didn't know what to do for this day? Well, my good friend, Kathy, asked me when I wanted her to bring over the pan of mint brownies I had asked her to make for Paul and the children so I, of course, said, "Wednesday!!" This is definitely a brownie fit for a king. She's the best mint brownie baker I've ever known. I have had them before....before giving up sugar! It's hard to stay away from these, but I just pretended I was banished from the kingdom for this day.;)
The children were so excited to receive these little Nativity figures. I am so happy they finally have a set they can play with and I don't have to worry about. I can hardly wait to give them the Three Kings at Epiphany!
Christmas Plans...not officially complete, but, oh well!
Here are a few things I plan to do for the 12 days of Christmas. We'll begin by reading the Night Before Christmas after we go to Mass. Yes, it will technically be Christmas, but I still want to read this aloud to the children since we have a new pop-up book. I have a large poster board that I made with pictures of the 12 days that will go up in the dining room for the kids to see. I also picked up a set of ornaments for the 12 days at a discount store two years ago. Every morning the kids will get the ornament for that day and place it on our Christmas tree.
- A Partridge in a Pear Tree. Pear Tart taken from Martha Stewart.
The partridge in a pear tree is Christ. In nature, a mother partridge will feign injury to lure predators away from her defenseless nestlings. In the same way, our Lord protects us, vulnerable human beings, from Satan. The pear tree symbolizes the salvation of mankind, just as the apple tree symbolizes Adam and Eve’s Fall from Grace.
- 2 Turtle Doves....Turtle Sundae Ice Cream for Dessert at our Sunday evening meal.
Two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testaments. Also, Jewish couples of modest income offered two turtle doves instead of the customary lamb as a sacrifice to God when they presented their newborn child in the Temple. Interestingly, our Blessed Mother Mary and St. Joseph offered a sacrifice of two turtle doves for the presentation of our Lord (cf. Luke 2:22-24).
- 3 French Hens... I have a French Roasting Rub for roasting a chicken for dinner that night.
Known for their beauty and rarity, the three French hens signify both the gifts of the Magi (gold, frankincense, and myrrh), and the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.
- 4 Calling Birds...
The four calling birds are associated with both the four evangelists and their gospels’ Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and the four major prophets’ Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
- 5 Golden Rings....
Five golden rings has a two-fold significance. A ring, or a circle, has no beginning or end but is continuous. Thereby, the ring reminds us of both God’s eternity, His permanent, faithful, and continuous love for us and the circle of faith God’s love for us, our love for Him, and our love for our neighbors. The number five also signifies the first five books of the Old Testament the Pentateuch or Torah (the books of law for the Jewish people).
- 6 Geese A'Laying....
The six geese a-laying represent the six days of creative work recounted in Genesis.
- 7 Swans A'Swimming
However, in Judaism, seven was a number of perfection. The seven swans a-swimming continues the Genesis theme, reminding us that God’s plan included not just the six days of creating but also the seventh day of rest; we in turn must not forget to make Sunday a holy day by worshipping God at Mass, spending time with our loved ones, and relaxing. Moreover, the seven swans a-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven corporal works of mercy, the seven spiritual works of mercy, and the seven deadly sins.
- 8 Maids A'Milking....Dinner at the Convention Grill in Edina for the best milkshake in the Twin Cities!!
The eight maids a-milking signifies the eight beatitudes and, at that time in our Church, the eight times during the year prescribed for the faithful to receive Holy Communion.
- 9 Ladies Dancing....Today we will announce to the girls that they will be attending the Little Flowers Father Daughter Dance in January. Our little ladies will be so thrilled to get a chance to dance with their Daddy!
The nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit and the nine choirs of angels.
- 10 Lords A'Leaping
The Ten Commandments are represented by the ten lords a-leaping.
- 11 Pipers Piping
Eleven pipers piping are the eleven faithful apostles at the time of the resurrection and ascension. (Remember that Judas, one of the Twelve, betrayed our Lord and committed suicide.)
- 12 Drummers Drumming....Today we will present the children with the 3 Kings for their nativity set in honor of Epiphany. El Dia de Los Reyes Magos is a huge festival day in Mexican culture. This is a day for a lot of gift giving. We will celebrate with a Rosca de Reyes from our local Mexican Bakery and Mexican Hot Chocolate.
Finally, the number twelve for the Jewish people represented completion and fullness. Therefore, the twelve drummers drumming are the twelve minor prophets, the twelve precepts of the Apostles Creed (still the structure of the first part of the Catechism), the twelve apostles (particularly the original 11 plus St. Matthias who replaced Judas), and the twelve tribes of Israel.**All text taken from Catholic Resource Center.
Enjoy Christmas Eve in full anticipation of Christmas Day! From our home to yours,
Love from Us!