The most wonderful time of the year is here. A time of anticipation, expectant waiting, and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. I cannot think of a better way to discover the treasures and gifts of this season, then with Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift and Unwrapping The Greatest Gift.
God has been using these two books to speak to me and my family in many ways. Each day, it seems the devotion was written specifically for me, to meet me right where I am. I know that sounds a bit silly and impossible but it is true. The words are composed so beautifully, so descriptively, and so vividly, that they prompt my thoughts towards better things, redirect my heart to those who are hurting, and provide a salve for the hurt and broken places in my own soul. This is the season of hope, love, peace and God’s great gifts.
In The Greatest Gift, the lineage of Jesus is explored through familiar Bible stories and the colorful characters in Christ’s family tree. Each day there is a Bible passage, a devotional, and reflection questions. I love that the devotions are only a few pages long so that there is no excuse not to read them daily. The reflection questions keep me thinking ALL DAY LONG! They are not questions like- Who was Sarah and Abraham’s baby? or How many brother’s did Joseph have? They are questions that require me to search my life and the state of my heart. My favorite part of each chapter is the “Unwrapping More of His Love in this World” section. These are tangible things that a person can do to show their love to God and others by serving, blessing someone’s day, or worshiping God through letter and song.
In conjunction with reading The Greatest Gift, I have been reading Unwrapping the Greatest Gift with the kids. These stories follow the devotional but are written to engage the whole family. The illustrations are exquisite. Free, downloadable ornaments are available when you purchase the book. Last year, I had the girls color each of the ornaments as I read the story to them. This year, I wanted to up the craftiness with making our own ornaments. (We love crafts in our family!) I also wanted a more hands-on lesson illustration that a craft would provide.
You can find many ideas on the internet for Bible story crafts. Below are some of my original ideas and some that I modified from Pinterest. I gave credit for those craft ideas that I borrowed. If you decide to make and share one of my craft ideas, I would to love to see it. Tag me on Instagram or send me a link to your blog post. 🙂
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. ” Isaiah 11:1-2
(You can find wood discs at craft store, the Target Dollar Spot, or use some power tools and cut the discs yourself. I went the power tool route because power tools are fun! )
-skinny sharpie markers, paint
OR a pencil, a wood burner, paint
We live next to a small patch of woods and searched for the perfect dead branch to make this ornament out of. Searching for the dead branch (on a cold, damp, and dreary day) really drove home the idea as to how miraculous and impossible (for all but Jesus) is it to have life come from something dead. We talked about how Jesus is a miracle and how he goes to impossible lengths of love for us.
After the discs had been cut, we drew a shoot with a pencil, wood burned over the pencil marking and then painted the shoot bright green. This project was time consuming but the time could easily be cut down using pre cut wood discs, sharpie markers and/or paint.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
26 Then God said, “Let us make man[a] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
-2-1/2″ styrofoam balls
-Mod Podge (Matte works best)
-blue and green tissue paper squares
-heart glitter paper (and heart punch)
With paint brushes, we painted Mod Podge on the styrofoam ball and the stuck squares of blue and green tissue paper over the ball to represent the water and land. Note: Larger tissue squares work better than smaller ones. And stick the pipe cleaner in the ball prior to doing the mod podge. It creates a handle to make gluing easier.
After the whole ball was completely covered with tissue, we gave it a generous coat of Mod Podge. Once dry, we added a heart-punched, glitter heart stuck on by pop-up glue-dots. “We were created by love, for love.”
I plan to post a few craft ideas at a time. Check back to see the new ones added and follow along with the fun.