Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jesse Tree Readings and Coloring Pages for Advent 2008

You can find an updated version of this post for 2010 here: Jesse Tree Readings and Coloring Pages for 2010

Last year I compiled the following list of coloring pages, activities and bible passages (used in addition to the stories in our Children's Bible), to go along with our Jesse Tree.

I adjusted the dates for this advent, and I have checked most of the links to make sure they still work, but please let me know if you run across one that doesn't. (I have a file of all the coloring pages already, so I didn't need to print them out again this year.)

You'll also notice that many days we will be reading more than one bible story and hanging more than one ornament on our tree. The number of days in advent changes each year, and so I tend to just double up some days so we have the opportunity to read all the stories and use all of our ornaments each year.

For those of you that do not already have a Jesse Tree, and are looking for something simple, here is a link to a pdf file of some Jesse Tree Symbol and Shape Patterns that could be colored by your children. Another version is also available from Domestic-Church. Oh, and here is one more... Hopefully you can find one that will work well for your family!


November 30
Readings & Ornaments:
Creation: Gen .1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: Earth
Coloring Activities:
Creation or God Created the World


December 1

Adam & Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbol: Man & Woman
Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbol: Serpent
Coloring Activities:
Adam & Eve
Adam & Eve Expelled from the Garden

December 2
Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbol: Ark
Noah's Ark (we will make a collage with these pictures)
and maybe one of these for the girls

December 3
Readings & Ornaments:
Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbol: Stars
Melchisidek: Gen. 14:17-20; Ps. 110:4; Heb.20 Symbol: Bread & Wine
Coloring Activities:
Abraham or Abraham with his son Isaac
High Priest for Melchisidek

December 4
Readings & Ornaments:
Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: Bundle of wood
Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: Ladder
Coloring Activities:
Isaac
Jacob wrestling with Angel
Star of Jacob from Eucharistic Adoration Coloring Book.

December 5
Readings & Ornaments:
Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbol: Multi-Colored Coat
Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbol: Stone Tablets/Ten Commandments
Coloring Activities:
Joseph
Moses receiving Ten Commandments

December 6
Readings & Ornaments:
Joshua: Joshua 6:2-5; Jos. 1,3,6-11) Symbol: Sword & Trumpet
Ruth: Ruth 2:15-17 Symbol: Sheaths of Grain
Coloring Activities:
Joshua
Ruth gathering wheat

December 7
Readings & Ornaments:
Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: Oil lamp
Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: Shepherd's staff
Coloring Activities:
Hannah prays for a Son and Samuel
For Jesse we will color this Shepherd with Staff

December 8
Readings & Ornaments:
David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbol: Harp
Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbol: Scales of justice
Coloring Activities:
David & the King
David & Goliath
King Solomon

December 9
Readings & Ornaments:
Elijah: 2 Kings 17:2-4, 6; 2 Kings 17-18:21-39 Symbol: Raven
Hezekiah: 2 Kings 20:1-6; 2 Kings 18-20 Symbol: Teardrops
Coloring Activities:
Elijah Praying

December 10
Readings & Ornaments:
Nehemiah: Neh. 2:17; Neh. 1-7 Symbol" Walls of Jerusalem
Raphael: Tobit 11:7-8 Symbol: Fish
Coloring Activities:
Here is a fun maze for the wall of Nehemiah.

December 11
Readings & Ornaments:
Judith: Judith 13:7-10 Symbol: Sword
Esther: Esther 2:17 Symbol: Queens Crown
Coloring Activities:
Esther or this one of Esther meeting the King

December 12
Readings & Ornaments:
Isaiah: Isaiah 7:14 or Ecclesiastes 48:25 Symbol: Scroll
Jeremiah: Jeremiah 30:21-22 Symbol: Stone
Coloring Activities:
Bible & Scroll

December 13
Readings & Ornaments:
Daniel: Daniel 6:12-23 Symbol: Lions
Jonah: Jonah 2:1-2, 11 Symbol: Whale
Coloring Activities:
Daniel in the Lions Den
A Couple other options for Daniel can be found here and here.
here and here.
Jonah & the Whale

December 14
Readings & Ornaments:
Zachary and Elizabeth: Luke 1:11-13 Symbol: Angel
Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: Carpenter's Saw
Coloring Activities:
I couldn't find a color page of Zachary & Elizabeth, so we will color a picture of The Visitation.
Here is one of St. Joseph

December 15
Readings & Ornaments:
Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: Lily
Gabriel: Luke 1:26-38 Symbol: Angel with lily
Coloring Activities:
Picture of Mary out of our Mother of God Coloring Book.
As an option, here is a coloring page with a lily.
Angel Gabriel appears to Mary

December 16
John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: Shell with water
Coloring Activities:
St. John Baptizing


On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the "O" Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the "O" Antiphons.

I plan on doing an extra activity or gift instead of a coloring page each day this week based on the selections in Celebrating the Faith in the Home Series. I have quoted the ideas under each date.

**Actually, here is my "O Antiphons" post from last year that shows exactly what we did for each of these days!

December 17
Reading & Ornament:
O Wisdom (Jesus is Wisdom): Sirach 24:2; Symbol: Open book

"Since the symbol for wisdom is a book, one could give a special book, perhaps a family catechism. Or each individual could receive a small, inexpensive prayer book."

December 18
Reading & Ornament:
O Lord (Jesus is Lord): Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbol: Burning bush

Tonight, a fire could be started in the fireplace. The family could gather together and roast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate. Or maybe a flaming dessert could be served."

December 19
Reading & Ornament:
O Flower (Jesus is Flower of Jesse): Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbol: Flower

"An obvious choice for this evening is a floral gift. Maybe the family could receive their first poinsettia for the holiday season. Since some translations read, "O root of Jesse," a special fruit or vegetable could be served--a carrot cake, for example."

December 20
Reading & Ornament:
O Key (Jesus is Key of David): Isaiah 22:22 Symbol: Key

"In the monasteries the monk in charge of the wine cellar would bring forth a special bottle of wine to serve that night. Similarly, you could allow some special treat or priviledge that is normally off limits."

December 21
O Radiant Dawn (Jesus is the Radiant Dawn): Isaiah 41:25-26 Symbol: Sun rising

"Tonight you could have a candlelit dinner... You might also consider taking time this evening fo a walk or a ride to view the Christmas light displays in your community. If your unable to wait until Christmas eve to decorate and light your home, you could do it this night."

December 22
Reading & Ornament:
O King (Jesus is King of the Gentiles): Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbol: Crown

"Most little ones love crowns and would be delighted to wear a crown made out of gold or silver for this meal."

December 23
Reading & Ornament:
O Emmanuel (Jesus is Emmanuel): Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbol: Holy Eucharist.

"Emmanuel means "God is with us." Since Christ is present to us in the Blessed Sacrament, the gift tonight could have the Holy Eucharist as its theme. For example, each member of the family could receive a Holy card with a picture of the Holy Eucharist or a prayer book with prayers to the Blessed Sacrament."

December 24
Reading & Ornament:
Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbol:Infant Messiah

Attend Mass in honor of the Birth of Christ!

The Advent Wreath

**Updated and reposted from last year! :)

I love the tradition of the Advent wreath. It so totally packed with symbolism! It is such a great way to teach the children even more about God, Christ and the Christmas season.

The round shape stands for God's eternity. Like God, it has no beginning and no end.

The greens used to make the wreath are EVERgreen, and therefore unchanging, just like God.

The four candles symbolize the four centuries that man waited for the coming of our Savior.

Three of the candles are purple since Advent is a time of penance. It was because of our sinfulness that we needed a Savior, and so we must prepare ourselves through sacrifice and penance during Advent for Christ's coming at Christmas. However, we know that Christ HAS and IS coming again, and so our penance is a joyful one! We are joyfully anticipating and preparing ourselves for the celebration of Christmas, as well as Christ's second coming. Therefore, one candle is pink to represent our joy.

On the first Sunday of Advent we light one purple candle. On the second Sunday of Advent, two purple candles are lit. On the third Sunday of Advent, which is called "Gaudete Sunday", we light the pink candle since "Gaudete" means "let us rejoice!" And then, on the fourth (and final) Sunday of Advent, all four candles are lit. The gradual lighting of the candles is a visible sign for us. We can see the light growing brighter the closer we get to birth of Christ, who IS the light of the world!

We use to make our own Advent wreath by gathering greens from our yard, but the past couple years I have been purchasing wreaths. This year I found a beautiful artificial wreath from Costco, for only a few dollars more than the real evergreen wreath, and decided to switch over since it sits in front of our fireplace and dries out so quickly. We will also be able to reuse it now! :) I have four silver candle stands on which I place the candles. I use to purchase taper candles, but since we light them every night, we burn through them so fast... So, I switched to pillar candles which will last all of Advent, and have been working great! (Thankfully I was FINALLY able to find a pink candle, though not exactly the shade I was looking for... oh well!)


After dinner, on the first Sunday of Advent, my husband leads us in prayer as he blesses our wreath before we light the first candle. We use the blessing found in a great little book called Handbook of Prayers. (I just LOVE this little prayerbook!) You can also find the blessing here.

Each evening of Advent, before we relight the candles of our wreath, we say one of the following prayers, depending on which week of Advent it is:

The First Week
Bestir, O Lord, Thy might, we pray Thee and come; That, defended by Thee, we may deserve rescue from approaching dangers brought on by our sins, and being set free by Thee, obtain our salvation. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.

The Second Week
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the ways of Thine only-begotten Son, that through His coming we may be worthy to serve Thee with purified minds. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.

The Third Week
Incline Thine ear to our prayers, O Lord, we beseech Thee; and make bright the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.

The Fourth Week
Bestir, O Lord, Thy might, we beseech Thee, and come; and with great power come to our aid, that, by the help of Thy grace, that sins may be hastened by Thy merciful forgiveness. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.


I pray that you all have a very Blessed Advent and Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

An early visit from St. Nick?!?

Today we attended a 50th Anniversary Mass and reception for some very dear friends of ours. In fact, it was for our children's wonderful swimming teacher! We had a wonderful time, and it was so nice being able to reconnect and visit with lots of old friends!

However, we forgot to lock our door before we left, and when we arrived home, we were all stunned to find a Christmas Tree in our living room!

What a nice surprise!!!!


Now, if we could just figure out where it came from?!?

UPDATE: Well, it turns out that the tree was a gift from 2 of my brothers, Paul & Scott! Actually, my first guess WAS Paul. :) He is such a sweetie! A few years back, on Thanksgiving, I unsuccessfully tried to get him to stay late at my parents and play board games with us, but he said he had another job to do. (He has an Outdoor Lighting business, and is always super busy hanging Christmas lights this time of year.) Anyhow, a few hours later, we headed home and were shocked to find OUR home COVERED in little white Christmas lights! It was BEAUTIFUL! He is always so thoughtful. When I called him last night, I asked if he had been playing Santa Claus again, and he laughed. He said that it was from him & Scott and that they had just done a job for a tree farm who wanted to add a bit of extra lighting in exchange for a few trees.

So that explains how we came home to find a tree in our living room... Something I would have never expected! Don't I have the sweetest brothers?!

Thanksgiving Day in Pictures

Making cards in the morning with their cousin.



Making Oreo Turkeys





My twin sisters with all three of their nieces.



Snuggles with his Daddy, Godfather, and Grandma.




More pictures...




My parents recently remodeled their kitchen, and it is SO pretty!




A couple of my contributions to the meal.




Feast... Feast... Feast... Feast...




Board games after dinner.




Our Family


Of my parents 12 children, 11 of us made it home for Thanksgiving this year, in addition to all 7 grandchildren! We sure missed you Sean, I can't believe it has been 5 years since we have all been able to get together at the same time!!! I am SO bummed that we didn't take a family photo... Hopefully we can find an opportunity while everyone is still in town.


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! God Bless!

Celebrating the Feast of St. Catherine

Each year we celebrate Twinkle Toes nameday on November 25th, the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Usually I try to make a Heart Shaped Cake for the feast, but this year it was just too much. Instead we were able to pick up a super yummy (White Chocolate Raspberry) cake from a local bakery. They were more than willing to add a pink heart to the top of the cake, which served the purpose just fine. Twinkle Toes loved it!

I wasn't able to get a picture until it was already missing a piece... but I took one anyways! :)

We usually give our children a small gift on their namedays. I generally use it as an excuse opportunity to add another book from my our wishlist, so this year Twinkle Toes received Take It to the Queen: A Tale of Hope.



She loved it, and so did I! It is beautiful allegory of the Blessed Mother, written by Josephine Nobisso, author of one of our absolute favorites, The Weight of a Mass: A Tale of Faith.

It was a simple last minute feast day/nameday celebration, but it brought smiles to all our children's faces in the midst of a very sad week, and for that I was very thankful!

St. Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us!

Meeting Godparents

My sister and her family live all the way on the other side of the country, and we were so excited that they were able to fly home for Thanksgiving this year! Not only were we looking forward to seeing them, we were so excited that Snuggles was going to finally be able to meet his Godparents, and that we were going to be able to meet there youngest son, who is also one of our Godsons!

Snuggles with his Godparents and Cousin/Godbrother


My hubby with our Godson/nephew
Isn't he a cutie?!? Our Godson is pretty cute too! ;)


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thank you ♥


And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for all former things are passed away. And He that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. ~ Apoc 21:4-5


I can't begin to thank you all enough for the outpouring of love and support that you have given to our family. I KNOW that it is all of the prayers that got us through yesterday, and continue to give us the strength and grace that we need right now.

It was such a blessing to have a priest available to hear my confession and give me the anointing of the sick just before my D&C yesterday afternoon. I couldn't even believe how calm I was, and how accepting I was able to be that this was the will of God. I kept telling my husband that "people must be praying for us!"

My husband conditionally baptized the baby and we will be meeting Father at the cemetery tomorrow afternoon for the burial.

We will always miss our little Gabriel dearly. It helps to do as a priest recommended this past weekend and place myself at the foot of the cross and try and imagine what the Blessed Mother must have felt as she had to watch her Son, the Son of God, die on that cross. She embraced her cross, and in imitation of her, I must try to follow her example. St. John Vianney once said, "our greatest cross is our fear of crosses."

Through the grace of God, I pray that we will one day be reunited with all our beloved in Heaven. Thank you again for your prayers, may God reward you!


In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence,
I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Heartbroken


Sometimes it is just so very, very hard to thank God
for the suffering that he allows in our lives...

This past Wednesday I went in for my regular OB check up. At the appointment, my midwife was not able to find our baby's heartbeat. She was not very concerned due to the location of my uterus, and the fact that we had a hard time finding Chiquita's heartbeat until the second trimester as well. Nevertheless, she gave me the option of either coming back in two weeks for a recheck, or scheduling an ultrasound. I opted for the ultrasound.

My ultrasound was scheduled for Friday morning at 7:30am. I was confident that everything would be fine, but hubby took the morning off work to go with me just the same. I am so thankful that he did.

As the woman started the ultrasound, she didn't say much. I noticed that she was measuring the baby, and asked about it, but then she changed the screen to my overall uterus and she just said that she was taking a couple measurements. A few minutes later she turned to us and said, "I'm afraid that I have bad news for you guys."

Our baby's heart was no longer beating.

It was such heartbreaking news for us, and I immediately started crying.

My uterus measured at the correct 11 weeks gestation, but our baby only measured between 7-8 weeks. They don't know when exactly our little one died, but said that it could have been anytime in the past few weeks.

My midwife prescribed some pain medicine for when the miscarriage starts, and suggested that I schedule a D&C for Monday or Tuesday, which already happen to be two very emotional days for me each year.

I decided to try and see a very pro-life specialist in the area. I have the appointment tomorrow morning. If I end up needing the D&C, I want to have the best doctor available. I am so scared.

Even though I know that our little one is in God's hands, and is perfectly happy, I can't even put into words, how hard this has been for us. It is amazing how quickly you can bond with a child. This baby has only been a part of our lives for a few months, and yet is already so dearly loved and such a precious part of our family.

If you could all please keep us in your prayers, it would be greatly appreciated!

Dear Lord, please help us to be thankful for this cross that You have allowed in our lives. Please give us the grace to carry it, and help us to accept it as Your will.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!
Update: Thank You ♥