“Shazam!” Gladys yelled, flinging her arms out and smacking the kid next to her.
“What?” Mother said. Mother never read “Amazing Comics.”
“Out of the black night with horrible vengeance, the Mighty Marvo-”
“I don’t know what you are talking about, Gladys,” Mother said. “This is the Angel of the Lord who comes to the shepherds in the field and-”
“Out of nowhere, right?” Gladys said. “In the black night, right?”
“Well…” Mother looked unhappy. “In a way.”
If you are unfamiliar, this is an excerpt from one of the best books EVER – The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. (there are 369 used copies on Amazon starting at $.01!) My dad has read this story to my brother and me every Christmas we were all together as long as I can remember. He cried every year, at the same part.
It is possible that it only happened two or three times, but what I REMEMBER is that it was something special we did together. That memory is one of the inspirations for this Advent Guide – making memories together and starting traditions that our children will cherish in their hearts from their childhood.
Another special memory is that we always had a few sweet homemade clay ornaments that my older brother and my mom had made when he was about 4 years old. Every time we got them out, she told me about her memories surrounding making them with her little boy. He’s 37 now and has his own precious little baby boy, but those ornaments are still in my mom’s Christmas decorations in the basement!
Here are a few more ideas for making your own memories with your children. If yours are too old for these suggestions, consider starting a tradition of reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever…you won’t regret it.
Open the barn and animal figurines. Discuss each animal with the child, asking what the animal is and what sound it makes. Allow them to play with the figurines that they have opened so far, and encourage them to act out the beginning of the story. If they enjoy role play, or if you choose not to include the use of figurines, dress them up as characters in the story and perform your own Nativity Play.
Away In A Manger
Away in a manger, no crib for His bed,
The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head;
The stars in the sky look down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
The Cattle are lowing, the poor baby awakes.
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky.
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
Open the angel figurine, and read a second Nativity Storybook, or reread your first book if you plan to only use one. Help child focus on the angels in the story, and their role in telling each person about the coming of the Messiah. Listen to the Christmas Carol CD while you make your angel ornaments, using the following recipe. If you aren’t into crafts, use the time to get out any angel decorations you may have for the house or tree.
Make Your Own Angel Ornaments
4 c flour
1 c salt
1 ½ c water
Food Coloring or Paint (I suggest washable)
Gingerbread Girl or Boy cookie cutter
Butterfly cookie cutter, if available
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these Advent ideas! Please share your responses with the community here! Did you ever make your own ornaments as a child, or do you have a favorite recipe for homemade bake-able clay to share? What is your favorite memory involving playdough or clay?