Sunday, December 21, 2014

I'm a Procrastinator to the End

     Can you believe Christmas is this week?  That just sounds like crazy talk if you ask me.  I'm looking forward to Christmas, as I do every year, but particularly this year because with it I also get a bit of a break from school.  I'll be heading home to Louisiana for a few short days, but I'm glad I'll get to see family for the Christmas.  Now since I'll be out of town starting Wednesday, perhaps I should finish posting those Advent ornaments I've been working on.

Day 16: The Throne
     This ornament represents the scripture found in Isaiah 9:6-7 "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."  I explained to Monkey that since the beginning, God had a plan for a Savior, and that He left hints of the coming Savior all over the Old Testament, and I told her that here was another hint.  One day there would be child born who would be the Prince of Peace, and that child would be Jesus Christ.  We talked about how the Bible says He would sit on the throne of David, and I reminded Monkey of Ruth and her descendant Jesse and his son David, and I explained to her that David's family would branch all the way down to Jesus.

    To make this ornament I cut a bit of brown felt to look like a chair.  I added some white felt to look like the back of a chair or throne, I stitch the details on the chair in black thread before sewing the whole chair/throne onto a bit of blue felt for a background.  I added some green cord to hang the ornament with.

Day 17: The Lion

     The lion ornament represents the story of Daniel in the lion's den (found in Daniel 6).  I explained to Monkey that the people of Israel began to turn away from God, and in doing so the lang He promised them was conquered by other people who didn't believe in God.  Some people were captured and brought back to the lands of those conquerors.  One Israelite, Daniel, was brought to live in the courts of King Darius, and he found favor with the king, but this made other men jealous.  These other men decided to get rid of Daniel by tricking him into disobeying the king.  They knew that Daniel followed the commandments and wouldn't bow down and worship to anything or anyone but God, so they decided to use that against him.  They created a law that said the people should only pray to the king for 30 days and no other god or man, but of course, Daniel continued to pray to God. He was caught, and the punishment was to be thrown into a den of hungry lions.  I then explained to Monkey how the king didn't really want to hurt Daniel, but that it was his law, so he had to enforce it, and the king even told Daniel that he hoped Daniel's God would save him.  Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, but God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions so they would not devour him.  The king, who had been worried about Daniel all night, rushed to the den early the next morning to find Daniel unharmed, and had him taken out of the den.  Because the king saw Daniel's great faith in God, King Darius believed in God too and decreed that all people should treat Daniel's God with respect.

     To make the ornament, I started by cutting a bit of brown felt into what would be the lion's head and ears.  Next I cut a bit of orange felt to form the mane, cutting a hole from the middle of the main, so the face could show through.  Next I stitched the lion's face with some dark brown string.  I added the blue cord for hanging, and then I backed it all with a bit of blue felt.

Day 18: The Whale/Big Fish

     This scripture can be found in Jonah 1-3.  I told Monkey the tale of Jonah and the Whale (or big fish as it's referred to in the Bible), and how God told Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh to turn away from their sin and back to God.  Jonah, however, thought he could run away from God, so he hopped on a ship that was sailing in the other direction.  Of course, God knew where he was, and sent a great storm to rock the ship.  When the sailor's were scared they may drown in the storm, Jonah told them to throw him overboard, because he had angered God.  At first the sailors refused, but eventually they threw him overboard into the ocean.  The storm stopped, and God sent a great fish to swallow Jonah so he wouldn't drown.  Jonah stayed inside the fish's belly for 3 days and 3 nights, praying to God.  Finally God had the fish spit Jonah out on dry land, and this time Jonah listened when God told him to go preach at Nineveh.  Jonah urged the people to turn away form their sin, and they listened and asked God to forgive them, and because they did God did not destroy their city.

     For this ornament, I cut a whale from a bit of grey felt.  I gave him an eye and a mouth using black thread, and then I sewed him onto some blue felt before adding the green cord for hanging.

Day 19: The Town

     This scripture comes from Micah 5:2, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler of Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."  I explained to Monkey that this was another of those "hints" God had given His people hundreds and hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, that He would be born in the little town of Bethlehem.

     This ornament was fun to make.  I cut out one solid piece of brown felt in the shape of four houses side-by-side, and I used black felt to define their borders and add windows and doors.  I stitch the whole piece to a black background before adding some blue cord to hang it on the tree.

Day 20: The Tablet
      For this ornament, I told the story of Zacharias who was visited by the angel Gabriel, who informed Zacharias that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a son whom they would name John.  The angel said that this child would grow to be a man filled with the Holy Spirit, and that he would make the way ready for Jesus.  Zacharias didn't believe this was possible, so the angel told him he would not be able to speak again until after the baby was born because of his disbelief.  Sure enough, Elizabeth became pregnant with a baby, and a son was born, and while the family members argued about hat the baby should be called, Zacharias wrote on a tablet "His name is John!".  Immediately, Zacharias was able to speak again, and he praised God.  This can be found in Luke 1:1-25, 57-66.

     For this ornament I stitched the words, "His name is John" on a bit of cross-stitch fabric.  I cut that into a U shape and backed it with white felt and then black felt.  I used a some green cord to form the loop with which to hang it on the tree.

Day 21: The Sandal

     I told Monkey that John grew up to be a man filled with the Spirit of God, and that he spent most of his time preaching to people about the coming of Christ and baptizing people in His name, and that one time he told people, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier that I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Matthew 3:11.

For this ornament, I cut two pieces of brown felt to look like the shape of a sandal or flip-flop.  I stitched them together, and then I used dark brown thread to make the strap part of the sandal.  I added a loop of blue cord to hang it.

Day 22: The Angel

     In Luke 1:26-38 we see the story of how the angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her of how she would become pregnant with the Son of God even though she was still a virgin, not yet married to the man Joseph (who was a descendant of David).  Mary was willing to be of use to God, calling herself his "maidservant" which shows her humility and willingness to be faithful to God and His plan for her life.  I plan on contrasting her reaction to the angel to Zacharias' reaction to his similar news.

     For this ornament, I cut the shape of an angel from white felt and stitched it to blue felt which I also cut into the shape of an angel.  I used a loop of green cord to hang the ornament on the tree.

Day 23: The Hammer
     This ornament represents Joseph and his story which can be found in Matthew 1:18-25.  I used a hammer because Joseph was a carpenter, but that fact is not in this particular scripture, it's mentioned later.  Anyway, this part of scripture talks about Joseph's reaction to the news that his wife-to-be was pregnant, and how he planned to divorce her quietly (he would need a divorce to end the engagement because although they had not come together physically, they had signed the marriage covenant).  But that night as Joseph slept an angel appeared to him, saying that he should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, because the baby inside her was conceived by the Holy Spirit and would be the Son of God.  When Joseph awoke, he decided to listen to God and take Mary as his wife.

     This ornament is made out of light brown felt, which forms the handle of the hammer, and grey felt which forms the head of the hammer.  I stitched it together onto a bit of black felt which outlines the whole the.  Lastly, I added the blue cord for hanging.

Day 24: The Baby in a Manger

     A true procrastinator to the end, I have not made the final ornament, but I will post a picture when it's finished.  For this ornament I plan to read from Luke 2:1-21, which tells of the census that caused Mary and Joseph to make the journey to Bethlehem, even though she was close to term and could have the baby soon.  When they got to the town, all the inns were full, so they had to stay in the barn of one inn, and the baby was born and had to be laid in a manager (or feeding trough).  There were some shepherds tending their flocks that night, and they saw an angel of the Lord appear and announce the news of Jesus' birth, and then there was a host of angels in the sky, singing praises to God and proclaiming the birth of the Savior.  So the shepherds went to see this baby, and went away telling everyone of all they had seen.  Finally, as is the custom, 8 days after his birth, the baby was named "Jesus", which was what the angel told Mary his name should be.

     I hope you have enjoyed our little Advent adventure this year.  I sure have, and I think it will be a good tradition to partake in each year.  I'm certainly looking foray to using it next year, without having to worry about any last-minute sewing.

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