Many thanks to all for your notes and encouragement regarding the Advent Readings for the Very Young. We enjoyed the process of writing them. The long season of meditating on the glorious birth of Jesus and what it means for the world and trying to explain it in child-friendly ways was enriching and challenging for us this Christmas. In response to queries about whether we will continue, we are considering writing a series of devotional readings for Holy Week, come Easter-time. So let me invite you to check back the first week in April. Also, if you’ve just begun a habit of family devotions, let me encourage you to grab one of the many excellent children’s Bibles* and carry on!
Some of my own favorite moments from this project include having the chance to think and write about the angel’s message of “good news of great joy for all people” and overhearing Norah, playing with her stable, telling all the little people that Jesus is the Light of the World.
We had a happy Christmas, which is a triumph of the will this far from home and the culmination of weeks of planning and preparing on my part to make it “seem like Christmas.” If my cookies didn’t taste quite as good as Mom’s they disappeared as quickly and we lit lots of candles when we missed the fireplaces of Connecticut. We are grateful to friends new and old who contributed to the merriment with Christmas cards and packages and visits to our flat. All traces of Christmas decor were gone by Boxing Day, due to the fact that our miniature “live” Christmas tree quietly died several weeks ago. But (a little free tip to those readers still with me) the secret to victory over homesickness is usually activity and sweeping up pine needles four times a day was a godsend. Boxing Night Alex tipped the carcass of our tree over the balcony rail and it generously provided us with one more joy: every single needle fell off on impact (we live on the third floor): leaving a stark-naked mass of branches.
From this Christmas I’ll remember Norah and Harriet singing “Away in a Manger” in their new nighties on Christmas Eve. I’ll remember the look on Norah’s face next morning when she opened Uncle Jon and Auntie Candace’s present: a harmonica.
I’ll remember dear friends who came to celebrate with us, and the evenings we spent slowly building the nativity scene and waiting for Jesus. Mostly I’ll remember something I keep learning over and over: God is faithful, and He is so, so good to us.
*If you want suggestions, we have really liked The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones (Zondervan) and The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm (Crossway). For a very toddler-friendly introduction to many Bible stories, we have appreciated The New Bible In Pictures For Little Eyes by Kenneth N. Taylor (Moody Press).