We're also doing something a little different this year with the Advent Blocks that we made in 2006. The past couple of years, we've done the blocks at night so the whole family can participate.
This year, we're going to use them to "plan" our day ... so the block will give us an Advent/Christmas saint to explore, who to pray for or what to pray, crafty activity to do for the day, what the treat will be, what object to add to the Nativity set and finally what symbol to discuss (and that's the one we'll leave in the box to help us count down the days). The blocks won't be pulled at random so we can celebrate a saint's feast on the appropriate day (for instance, tomorrow is St. Francis Xavier) and the Christ Child won't go in the Nativity until the 24th ... but this works for us. I like having the blocks left in the box -- less cleanup when Christmas is over AND I can direct the kids to the box when they ask the age-old question "when will it be Christmans?"
Here's what we "got" today for discussion and activities:
- saint of the day: St. John Neumann (whose feast is Jan 5th, so we often "forget" him during our Christmas break)
- who or what to pray: read today's reading, responsorial and gospel
- crafty activity: make ornaments
- treat for the day: hot chocolate (perfect as it's been cold/damp and we keep the house at a steady 65!)
- object to add to our Nativity: shepherd
- symbol to leave in the box: Chalice and Host
The kids really liked that we did this for our "school day" as it gives us lots of time to really discuss and do in preparing for the Christ Child. This helps us slow-down our Advent and revel in being Catholic while at the same time learning how to share, how to create, how to listen, how to serve ... how to live!
We also read a book suggested in Cay Gibson's Christmas Mosaic: Clyde Robert Bulla's book, The Christmas Coat about two brothers who give their mom the best Christmas gift ever. This book really hit home for us as the boys are always squabbling (BamBam trying to be 10 instead of 6 and LegoManiac demanding rights of older brother-hood!). What a fabulous story -- and so fun to read aloud!
We finished our day with getting ready the costumes for the upcoming drama performance -- LegoManiac's roles include a monkey (type-casting?) while StringBean will be an Angel telling St. Joseph: "do not fear to take Mary as your spouse ..." String Bean was so excited by her first acting role that she had her lines memorized after the first practice!
So, what did you do this third day of Advent 2008?