Although it is the second Sunday of Advent for the church, it is the first week that we've observed Advent in the CGS atrium, because we were off last week for Thanksgiving break. The children noticed the changes, from the new "Advent" themed work on the tables, to our Jesse trees, waiting to be decorated, to the purple cloth and the advent wreath on our prayer table.
We also read Isaiah's Prophecy (9:2) and learned about how "the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light." Such deep thoughts these little ones on this prophecy, from how beautiful the light is and how happy we are see to see the light! Who is this light? They immediately answered "Jesus!"
I'll share photos of our Advent work in the 12/13 edition of the blog, but for now, want to share some photos of the children working, snapped by Christy Sharafinski. (Thank you, Christy!)
Notice that even when they are sorting things, or using their fine motor skills to place little beads on an indented mat, that they are in deep concentration. In our hurried, fast-paced world, this is a skill that many children (and adults!) are losing--the ability to concentrate deeply on something for an extended period of time. I think that is why coloring books have become so popular with adults, especially those coloring books that include images with detailed patterns. You really need to concentrate deeply to color them. Our soul yearns for this deep, contemplative concentration!
Several of the children enjoy decorating our "Jesse tree." I do not call it a Christmas tree. During Advent, we decorate it in the color of the season--purple for Advent, and they had the opportunity to color little Jesse tree ornaments and put them on the tree. (The white pieces of paper are our Jesse tree ornaments.)
If you aren't familiar with a Jesse tree, it is a tree or bush filled with small ornaments that symbolize important people in the Old Testament who are Jesus' ancestors. Think of it as Jesus' family tree!
Incidentally, I do not discuss the Jesse tree with the children in Level I (with the 3-6 year olds), other than just tell them it is a Jesse tree. That's because Sofia Cavalletti, the developer of the program, does not recommend teaching Old Testament stories to the littlest ones. For the littlest ones, we want to build an image in their head of a loving shepherd who watches over them and protects them. Sofia found that this is the image that resonates with them the most at this tender young age. Old Testament stories are often frightening to children, or, to make them less frightening, they are often told in a "fairy tale" way that will later confuse the children and make them associate Bible stories with fictional stories.
Because of this, your little ones won't hear Old Testament stories in CGS until they are older and have reached the age of reason (usually about 9-12 years old.) By that time, they have already fallen in love with the loving, merciful God and are more able to dwell in the deeper meanings of the Old Testament passages.
Sorry--I went a little off topic, but wanted to explain why your children won't be hearing stories like Noah's Ark, or Jonah and the Whale, until they are older.
Happy Second Week of Advent, everyone!