1. At the National Shrine today, I discovered this gem. The Nativity: From the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, illustrated by Ruth Sanderson. I LOVE this book. It can be tricky finding books for kids that simply tell the Christmas story. This book is simply the scriptural text, no glossing, ad libbing or adaptation. And the illustrations are gorgeous! Sanderson incorporates the traditional elements of illuminated manuscript... if you go to the Amazon page, you can see the inside cover. Another thing I love is that the story doesn't begin with the trip to Bethlehem or end with the Nativity or the Magi. It begins with the Annunciation and it ends after the family returns to Nazareth "and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."
2. We've had this Advent Calendar for a few years now and I love it. The pieces are magnetic so you can affix them wherever you want (the stable tends to fill up and then empty as we get closer to finding the Holy Family) and each of them has their own door to hide in until the day.
3. Last year I found this brilliant idea at Nicole's blog, Just Like Mary. They are O Antiphon ornaments and, last Spring, I made our own:
4. Our advent wreath. I love this wreath for two reasons. One, it is a simple gold ring, so I can put real pine branches around and through it each year not only giving it a living reality to it but a beautiful smell as well. Second, since each candle is a simple white tea light beneath a colored glass cylinder, once one runs out, I can simply replace the white tea light rather than running out of a taper candle.
5. Our Jesse Tree. This is a new tradition for us but when I saw these Jesse Tree Ornaments last year from Inspired Traditions, I declared it would be a great tradition for us to start and the girls are enjoying it.
We have been plagued with illnesses that just don't want to go away, but it is still Advent and we are still waiting. I hope you are having a Blessed Advent!
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