Last year, I put together this "Christmas Countdown" as a way to go through the Christmas story with the kids and to help all of us over here keep our hearts and minds on the reason we make such a big deal out of this time of year!
This year, we'll be using this same countdown, though I added another little element to it (inspiration from here). The kids helped create a "game board" (more like a sticker chart) that will serve as a simple visual of the events leading up to Jesus' birth.
While there's a lot you could do with this, we are keeping it simple once again. Each day, after we read that day's part of the Christmas story, the kids will put a sticker in one of the squares...as each day goes on, and another square is filled, the kids will see how each event brings us closer to Jesus' birth.
Last night, as Caleb was explaining to Kris how this "game" will work, he used the term "journey" to describe what Mary & Joseph were doing. So, we'll call this "A Journey to Jesus".
We'll start at the top, near the picture of Joseph and still-pregnant Mary riding on the donkey. As the kids were coloring today, we talked about why Mary's belly was so big ("because there's a baby in her tummy!") and who that baby was ("Jesus!").
On Christmas Day, we will end at the picture of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. Oh - and the sheep. Can't forget about him.
Hopefully, as each day of December ticks by, the kids will have a greater understanding and appreciation of all that led up to the birth of Christ. Most importantly, we hope that their hearts are softened to the great love that God has for them.