Christmas: A Study of Love
The warm feeling of love, the snug feeling of togetherness and family,
and the joy and excitement of celebration –
all to be found in many American homes this time of year.
From the preparation and celebration of harvest and Thanksgiving to the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas, there is a wonderful feeling of love everywhere, and as homeschooling families, we can take this time to learn, prepare our homes and our hearts, and share with others throughout the year.
At our house, we begin planning for the holiday season by preparing unit studies on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. This has become a regular tradition here, and one that is eagerly anticipated year after year. With each year of holidays comes a new slant or area of interest for our learning adventures, and we have never worked on any unit study in the same way twice! We use these holiday studies to help us grow in our knowledge as well as giving the children more time to thoroughly prepare for and understand the meaning of the holidays -- the history, literature, geography, science and music represented within the holiday theme.
In this article, I would like to focus on studying Christmas as a family unit. What does Christmas mean to you and your family? Ever take a close look with your family, asking them what they think? Write down their comments without criticism or discussion. Then, ask them what they like best about Christmas and then what their favorite holiday tradition is -- if they are old enough to understand. This is a great way to begin the Christmas season, and is usually a real eye-opener! What significance do you give to the true meaning of Christmas?
I first wrote the CHRISTMAS Unit Study to meet this need in our own home. We wanted to study this with the children, learning together and drawing us all closer in your own celebration. We were tired of the commercialism that had worked its way into Christmas and had to reflect very closely on what and how we had celebrated in the past, as well as finding ways to focus on the true meaning of Christmas -- the reason for the celebration -- His birth. We worked with the children to define what Christmas means to our family and what we would like to change. How could we celebrate Christmas with our family, our church, our neighbors and our community with the right emphasis? After all, this event we are celebrating was foretold in almost 400 different prophecies in the Old Testament - quite a fulfilling event when our Savior was born! Why shouldn't we celebrate it as least as much as we do the birth of one of our own babies?
Like me, you probably get overwhelmed with catalogs in the mail this time of year. But recently, one that we received really caught the attention of one of the children. It has a picture of Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus on the front cover, but it is somehow very different. My son looked at it and said, "Look, Mom -- they had a baby! Look at how happy they are!" Unlike so many other nativity scenes where Mary and Joseph have rather nondescript faces, this one shows them as parents getting a first good look at their new baby -- utmost joy and pride and awe and love. Their expressions also reflect what I imagine that God felt about then, too -- pride and love for His own Son.
Check back next week to read Part 2
of this Christmas article!