Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Teaching My Kids About the Nativity of Christ

I'm spending this week on all things Christmas with my kids.  My main focus is, of course, on the Nativity of Christ but we are also spending time doing family traditions such as making cookies for our neighbors, singing Christmas Carols, and snuggling up on the couch with hot chocolate and reading Christmas stories.

I have warm memories of sitting on my grandma's piano bench while she played the piano and we sang Christmas carols together.  Singing Christmas carols with my kids brings back those special memories as a child with a dear grandma who has fallen asleep in the Lord many years ago.

I also have wonderful memories of making Christmas cookies with my mom when I was little.  She would let me scoop the sugar and pour it into the bowl.  Take turns stirring with me and then letting me scoop out dough and make balls to place on the cookie sheet.  I try to pass on these traditions to my kids as well - plus a few of our own.

Yesterday we were studying about Saint Joseph the Betrothed.  We were coloring icons of Saint Joseph. I even had my 15 y.o. coloring the icons.  Why?  Well, because she is a very visual-spatial child who learns best by hands-on activities and with pictures.  She is just like me - we think in pictures.  More on that another time.  :)  I expect age appropriate retention and learning from my kids.  I wanted my boys (7, 6, and 4 y.o.) to remember that Saint Joseph was betrothed to the Theotokos.  His job was to take care of her and baby Jesus.  

While I expected my 15 y.o. to know the difference between being betrothed and being married as well as greater detail about the Nativity of Christ.  Wikipedia defines betrothal as:

Betrothal (also called espousal) is a formal state of engagement to be married.

Historically betrothal was a formal contract, blessed or officiated by a religious authority. Betrothal was binding as marriage and a divorce was necessary to terminate a betrothal. Betrothed couples were regarded legally as husband and wife - even before their wedding and physical union. In Jewish weddings thebetrothal is part of the Jewish wedding ceremony.

We made a batch of sugar cookies for our neighbors yesterday as well.  They were so kind and mowed our lawn several times this summer while we were out of town.  I tried a new recipe and the cookies turned out phenomenally.  
Sugar Cookies:
3 cups of flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tbs vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
powdered sugar for rolling out the dough

Mix all your wet ingredients together.  Then mix your dry ingredients into the wet mixture.  Roll out your cookie dough using powdered sugar.  Use your favorite cookie cutters and bake at 350 degrees for 7 - 8 minutes.  *Note: you need to use a non-stick spray, oil, or something on the cookie sheet otherwise the sugar on the outside of the cookies will caramelize and make it next to impossible to get the cookies off the cookie sheet in one piece.

Today we were talking about the Nativity of Christ and who was there.  My youngest (4 y.o.) was coloring the icon of the Nativity when he asked me, "What color do I color that dude?"  I responded, "We don't refer to Jesus as a dude."  I think it was mostly done to get a rise out of his older brothers and thrive off the giggles.  ~Sigh~  


Pres. Kathy said...

The Christmas season is so nice. I love the baking of cookies and singing Christmas carols. I can't wait until my little guy is a little older to understand the holiday season.

Caeseria said...

"We don't refer to Jesus as a dude." I love that!
My son was turning two last year and it was the first Christmas he'd paid attention to, and he figured out that Grown-up Jesus and Baby Jesus were the same person. Except he couldn't sign Jesus, so he called both Baby. I think Jesus was "Baby" until at least June. Children make Christmas SO MUCH FUN.