Today in school, we learned more about Jesus’ earthly father in Fear Not Joseph. Now, this book is fictionalized, as it must be, since we don’t have a whole lot of information on Joseph, outside of a few mentions in Scripture. But I think this book does an excellent job of showing children how Joseph might have felt, how he might have talked to Mary, how he dealt with Jesus being born in a stable. It’s also nice to have a different perspective on the Christmas story.
Since we have been reading a lot about angels this week, in the stories of Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph, we listened to and learned about a semi-familiar hymn, “The Angel Gabriel.” We were able to do this courtesy of Sacred Songs of Christmas. This book and CD set gives background information for 19 hymns, some well-known, and a few more obscure. There are also Bible verses, quotes, and trivia (for lack of a better word), mixed in with the words of the hymns. The CD only contains the first verses of the hymns, but that’s enough to give a good idea of the melody if you don’t know it, and the complete words are in the book if you’re ambitious enough to sing the rest on your own. We’ll be using this book several more times before we’re done with Christmas school!
I have failed to mention that for our big Christmas read-aloud, we’re reading A Christmas Carol. That’s right, the Charles Dickens classic–five pages a day. I was worried that Turkey and Bunny might find it too dry–they are familiar with the story, thanks to the Muppets, but sitting down and listening to the story sans pictures is a little different. They seem to be enjoying it, though, and their comprehension of it is good. I just like that they’re being exposed to such a classic book at such young ages!
Since we read the first two books in the series earlier this week (Ordering Our Days in His Peace and Behold the Lamb), we also re-read Worshiping with Angels and Archangels. I really like the way this book introduces children to the Divine Service, and even I have managed to learn a few things over the few times we’ve read it. The children have really enjoyed learning the history and the whys of the way we worship, and I like how everything in the book points to the Sacrament of the Altar.
A key element to our Christmas school every year is A Classical Kids Christmas. This CD is set up much like a children’s Christmas pageant, and tells the Christmas story through the important days of the Christmas season, including St. Nicholas’ Day, St. Thomas’ Day, and Epiphany. It doesn’t shy away from the real reason for the season, and only mentions Santa briefly, and then only in the context of explaining how he came to be in relation to St. Nicholas. It also does an excellent job of telling of Christmas traditions around the world, which comes in handy when we’re doing our Christmas around the world days.