Weekly Wrap-Up # 27: Seven Quick Takes for the Second Week of Advent

Yes, this post is woefully late, as we're now actually wrapping up the third week of Advent! But I didn't want to skip it because some fun and/or noteworthy events happened. So better a very late summary than none at all!

1. Back on December 1, we started opening the daily doors on our Advent calendar. It's the same Carson-Dellosa calendar we've used for three or four years now (which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be available anymore), and I really like that it's Christ-focused and includes a variety of activities - everything from reading Scripture passages to singing carols to making crafts. And, because we've done the same activities over several years, it's also been fun to see how the girls' understanding of the Christmas story has grown and how their artistic abilities have developed over time. On the 6th, they drew crowns to show that Jesus is in David's family line. I really like what they came up with.

2. Right after Thanksgiving we also hauled out our collection of Christmas movies, and the girls spent time since then getting reacquainted with their favorites. We own about 10 different titles, and this year they've most enjoyed A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

3. On December 7, we continued one of the neatest family traditions we've instituted at this time of year: our annual visit to Santa. I realize that many of the girls' peers are "too old" to be caught dead on his lap because they no longer believe the legend. In fact, it really saddens me that so many kids feel the need to leave behind their childhoods at such a young age. And I'm thankful that home education has afforded us the opportunity to maintain the girls' innocence.

I also know that "doing the Santa thing" is controversial for some Christians, and I understand and respect that perspective; in fact, we've never allowed the girls to believe in the Easter Bunny for the same reason. However, we've been okay with Santa because he's based on a real person...who was a strong Christ-follower, to boot. I am cognizant of the fact that eventually explaining the myth will probably cause some angst and confusion, but we'll work through that.

And so we went to see Santa at the mall about 45 minutes from here. Now, we live in a city of 100,000 people; we could probably find half a dozen local Santas on any given day. But the beautiful thing about our tradition is that the girls have only known one Santa - this man - for their entire lives. He and he alone is Santa to them - every other Santa they might see is merely a "helper" - and seeing him in December is a date that must not be broken.

And this man is wonderful! He looks very "authentic" and interacts with the children in a way that shows he genuinely enjoys his role. He's also reminded the girls more than once that Christmas is really about Jesus, and he clearly remembers us - all four of us - when he sees us. For the past couple of years, I've whispered to him that he may not retire until the girls are "done" with Santa; alternately, I know that the year he is no longer there will be the year we reveal the whole story...but I hope it doesn't come to that.

4. During the day, we continued and wrapped up our activities using a Notgrass Christmas unit study, Celebrate the Savior. We only did about half the book since some of the rest of it seemed beyond the girls' interest level at this point. But they loved putting together baby books for Jesus; they plan to wrap them up and have my husband open them for Jesus on Christmas.

5. We had planned to get our Christmas tree that Saturday afternoon, but made a last-minute change when we learned a blizzard was headed our way. Instead, we drove out to "our" tree farm - the place we've gone since the girls were one and two - on Friday night and chose "Larry" (yes, the farm names its trees!). It wasn't quite the festive "event" that going on a Saturday or Sunday has always been, but it was a nice contrast to the hubbub that seems to envelop so much of this month.

6. We took our chances against the impending snow storm and ventured out on Saturday morning to attend a private screening of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawntreader, an event arranged by our local Christian bookstore in conjunction with a local theater. It was fun to watch with a room full of friends and other like-minded folks, and it's an amazing movie we all enjoyed.

7. It took its sweet time getting here, but the blizzard finally hit just after 5:00 Saturday evening, dumping 10.5 inches of heavy, wet snow on us through the night. And then, even after the snow itself stopped, high winds kept it blowing and drifting all day on Sunday. Needless to say, most church services in the area - including ours - were cancelled. That doesn't happen often, but is to be occasionally expected with living up here in "the frozen tundra."

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