Surprise!

One of the most wonderful things about children is their surprisability. It’s so easy to surprise them, and their expressions of anticipation, followed by shock and glee, are a joy to behold! Maybe that’s one reason everyone loves Christmas; it’s a golden opportunity to delight and surprise each other.

God is always pressing in, just waiting and wanting to surprise us with gifts of grace, especially in this period from Advent to New Year’s when we are so often busy and distracted. Sometimes the happiness God wants to give us is not prettily presented. It first presents as an ongoing hardship or acute crisis that is guaranteed to capture our attention. Think of St Joseph’s sudden problem of Mary’s surprise pregnancy. Or the family tensions we might have to deal with afresh each Christmas time.

Though we are grown- ups, and have lost much of the easy suprisability of youth, God prepares awesome surprises for us. We appreciate them better if we’ve been looking out for them.

SEASONAL NOTES

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Advent Water Wreath

The Advent Wreath is rich in symbolism: The circular shape, with no beginning or end symbolises the eternity of God. Purple candles symbolize penance. The Rose candle, lit on the third Sunday stands for joy. The use of greenery, usually evergreens, signifies continuous life. Water Wreath This Advent Wreath is an innovative adaptation of an old tradition. Materials Large, clear …

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Christmas Card-o-Envelope

Want something a bit different to the usual mass-produced greeting cards? Try our environmentally-friendly Christmas card-o-envelope for a nifty way to make a card and envelope from one piece of A4 paper. We have 2 versions, one colour and one black and white that the kids can colour-in! It's as simple as downloading the template below, printing it, and then …

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The Intentional Family

Plan your family fun these holidays... Creating Memories Think back to a favourite Christmas holiday memory. Was it one of those simple, spontaneous moments, or was there some planning involved? Usually there is at least some forethought whether to plan a trip away, or simply spend a day at the beach, and for every child’s treasured memory of opening up …

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St Nic Candy Cane Holder

St Nicolas is usually depicted in crimson or deep purple bishop robes (not the bright red of commercial Santas). The European tradition of hanging stockings by the fire and serving oranges comes from the story of the three sisters which is sometimes told with gold balls (represented as oranges) instead of bags of gold. Common symbols for St Nicolas include …

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O Antiphon Baubles

The O Antiphons are prayed in the week before Christmas. Cut out the pre-printed baubles or use the blackline templates to design your own. Materials: O Antiphon Bauble template (download below) Colouring pencils, pens, glitter, sequins etc. String or ribbon for hanging Hole punch Scissors Print out the template and decorate the baubles, cut them out, punch a hole in the top …

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Making Your Own Jesse Tree

Beginning a new Advent Tradition in your family could not be simpler. A Jesse Tree is a simple ritual that comes with a prayer (see this article) that takes a few minutes. Prepare your family for the joy of Christmas whilst introducing them to the many extraordinary men and women of the Hebrew Scriptures. For more information on the tradition …

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