And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
Give your child a surprise tonight: after they are bathed and in their pyjamas, instead of reading a story, bundle them up in their snowsuit or warm coat, and mittens and bonnet, then take them for a drive around your neighbourhood to see all the festive lights and dressed-up homes.
Wishing you a peaceful Winter Solstice, at what can be a busy time of year.
If you’re able to take a winter walk, that’s a perfect way to spend time today. If your circumstances do not allow, then instead take a few moments to look about you, and be thankful for the nature all around you; it’s there even in the big cities!
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.
This week’s theme in Exploring Nature With Children is the winter solstice, which occurs today! This day marks the turning point, and the days begin to grow longer again and the nights shorter; we are on our way back to summer!
Take a walk with your child, to your favourite nature spot, and discuss the changes in the light and the weather, plus the reason behind the solstice, at a level appropriate for your child. Enjoy the Solstice together.
We always like to strew seeds for the birds, and put suet balls in the trees when we visit our special nature spot.
“Tweet of the Day has been entertaining early morning listeners to the Radio 4 schedule every day since 2013, but this Christmas we will delight in an avian offering of the well known song Twelve Days of Christmas. On the first day of Christmas so the song goes, a true love sent a partridge in a pear tree. As actress Alison Steadman suggests as ground birds, partridges are not known for their amorous arboreal perching. Why a partridge in a tree could have many meanings, but given the song is of possible French origin, the French or red-legged partridge seems an ideal candidate as sitter in a pear tree.”
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town.
Take some time today to have a peaceful hour amongst the potential busyness of the Advent season.
Make a warm mulled drink that the whole family can enjoy, cosy up with your nature journals and journaling supplies by a window, and simply sketch what you see outside.
Mulled Apple Juice ~ Our family favourite
Gently warm a bottle of apple juice on the stove top, adding in a cinnamon stick, a couple of cloves, and some strips of orange peel. (You can also squeeze in a little of the orange juice for extra flavour.)
Zechariah continued “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Head out to your special nature spot and have fun making a natural collage right there on the floor with found items such as twigs, seed pods, rocks and stones, feathers, and any other natural items you find. Leave your work of art in place for other walkers to enjoy. Perhaps leave a ‘Happy Christmas’ message too?
And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.”
Today we will take the rocks that you found on your walk yesterday to make paperweights, or small garden decorations. These will make lovely Christmas gifts for friends and family members.
Take your rock and wash it well.
Use a pencil to mark a design of your choosing. (The Christmas templates we used to make Christmas cards earlier on in Advent may come in useful again here.)
Use felt-tip markers or poster paints to fill in your design.
Allow the design to dry well, then if your child wishes, they can outline aspects of the design with a metallic marker.
You can then seal the design with a layer of varnish, or watered-down PVA glue if you want to make it more durable. If the rock will be kept indoors, this really isn’t necessary.
And fear came on all Zechariah and Elizabeth’s neighbours. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.
Take a winter walk with your child today and look for interesting rocks to bring home.
Hint: We shall be using them soon 🙂
Enjoy their shapes, colours, and textures. Talk with your child about how rocks are made from much smaller pieces, known as ‘grains’. Each one of those grains was once part of another rock before being broken down and reformed as part of the rock you picked up today.
And they said to Elizabeth, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.
Today let’s make Christmas wrapping paper:
Take a potato and cut in half.
Take a cookie cutter in a pleasing shape and push through the cut side of the potato. Remove any excess potato. This will leave you with a nice, crisp edge to print with.
Pat the potato dry with kitchen paper.
Put your chosen paint colours out in little dishes onto a newspaper-covered surface.
Take large sheets of plain paper; I like to use brown wrapping paper, lining paper is another option, and simply dip the potato shape lightly into the paint (too much will blur the design) and print down randomly on the paper.
Repeat until your child is satisfied with their design.
Allow to dry.
Enjoy listening to Christmas carols as you get on with wrapping some Christmas gifts together 🙂