Category Archives: Christmas

The Star of Bethlehem

“Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” — Isaiah 40:26

Last night my hubby and I sat by the bonfire while he smoked some meat for dinner. It was a chilly night, but you cannot beat the view of the stars on a crisp cold winter evening. Where you can see hundreds of stars in the summer months, there are now thousands upon thousands of stars! An added benefit is that we don’t have to stay up until well past our bedtime to see the glory of the heavens thanks to the early sunsets in winter.

At this time each year, I impatiently await Orion’s ascent into the winter sky. It’s such a fantastic constellation. Last night I saw the Pleadies rising, and I know Orion comes along right behind it, but we didn’t stay outside that long. I’ll keep watching for it.

Last week, while briefly searching the sky, I noticed a bright star in the south that I found to be Neptune! It was my first sighting of Neptune, and I was so thrilled that I quickly texted my fellow planet-watcher with its direction. Nevermind that he is four years old. When you see something that you have never seen in the sky before, you want to share the news with other interested friends.

I wonder if that is how the ancient people felt when they saw the star of Bethlehem. There is a riveting story behind the Christmas star. One that ties together the mystery of Bible prophecy, the intrigue of history, and the technology of science. You likely know the verse “…We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2B) But did you know that the following verse may also indicate what was happening in the stars at the time of Jesus’ birth?

You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness– who dares to rouse him? The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” (Genesis 49:9-10)

You can read about Rick Larson’s study of the Bible and historical accounts of the celestial events the ancients saw on, where you can also purchase a copy of his documentary. Or you can watch the documentary on YouTube: The Star of Bethlehem Documentary 2007. (1:04:58) Either way, it’s not to be missed.

I hope you are having a lovely Christmas time with your family and friends. Enjoy the rest and the festive crafts, food, and activities. School will resume with much greater success if you fully enjoy the change of focus now.


Children Necessary to Christmas Joy

I thought you might enjoy pondering this section of Charlotte Mason’s Parents and Children, as you enjoy the Christmas season:

In these leveling days we like to think that everybody has quite equal opportunities in some direction; but Christmas joy, for example, is not for every one in like measure. It is not only that those who are in need, sorrow, or any other adversity do not sit down to the Christmas feast of joy and thanksgiving; for, indeed, a Benjamin’s portion is often served to the sorrowful. But it takes the presence of children to help us to realize the idea of the Eternal Child. The Dayspring is with the children, and we think their thoughts and are glad in their joy; and every mother knows out of her own heart’s fullness what the Birth at Bethlehem means. Those of us who have not children catch echoes. We hear the wondrous story read in church, the waits chant the tale, the church-bells echo it, the years that are no more come back to us, and our hearts are meek and mild, glad and gay, loving and tender, as those of little children; but, alas, only for the little while occupied by the passing thought. Too soon the dreariness of daily living settles down upon us again, and we become a little impatient, do we not, of the Christmas demand of joyousness. But it is not so where there are children. The old, old story has all its first freshness as we tell it to the eager listeners; as we listen to it ourselves with their vivid interest it becomes as real and fresh to us as it is to them. Hard thoughts drop away like scales from our eyes; we are young once more with the children’s young life, which, we are mysteriously made aware, is the life eternal. What a mystery it is! (pp. 280-281)

I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Plan to Put Some Christmas in Your Curriculum

Last year’s handicraft – pyrography.

Last Christmas we did a full Christmas Curriculum, which was a lot of fun. We had started school in July, anticipating a one month trip in the fall – a trip that never happened. So when December rolled around I decided we would change things up a bit. I’m so glad we did, because it reminded us of how much fun school can be.

This is a little off the subject, but I have been noticing that there are a lot of people hugging one extreme or the other of this homeschooling method. Either they are striving for perfection to the point of making themselves and their family miserable, or they are just throwing in the towel and either turning to some other “easier” curriculum, or turning CM into some kind of unschooling.  I hear you, dear friend, but I would beg you to step back and reconsider finding some middle ground. A Charlotte Mason education shouldn’t be all “joy and bubbles” as I’m fond of saying, but on the other hand, it should NOT be drudgery. There are hard subjects, yes, but they are balanced by the true joy of finding things out.

Maybe I will talk on this subject more later, but for now, maybe you should start planning for a little something fun in your December curriculum. Something you all can look forward to. Something that brings you all together and reminds you what school can and should be like. You don’t have to change out every subject for a Christmas theme, but you can easily pick a few things to swap. Maybe a Christmas Hymn and a wonderful Christmas story to replace your current literature selection.

Please don’t fret that Poor Richard or Robinson Crusoe won’t get done in time. It will be there waiting for you in January. I promise. But in the mean time you may just jump start your resolve and your kids desire to learn. Maybe it will even be your first time off program, and you might find some liberty in that! One word of caution – don’t try to “catch up” later. In January, just go back to where you left off and keep on going. No need to double up. That is not the Charlotte Mason way.

Ideas? I suspect this will be easy for you, but if you would like to see what others have enjoyed in the past, then here are a few links:

This year we won’t be switching over entirely like we did last year, but I do plan to swap out a few things.  We will be reading This Way to Christmas by Ruth Sawyer, and of course our hymn will be a Christmas hymn. We will likely make a wreath again like last year, and we plan to make felt bird ornaments as gifts.

I hope you enjoy this Christmas season. Or maybe I should say I hope you PLAN, in order to enjoy this Christmas season. 😀

Some of the kids ornaments from last year’s handicraft project.