When I was little my sister and I would race down the stairs every day starting with December 1st. We would literally run through the house to make it to our family's advent calendar first. It was nothing amazingly huge, glittery, or even chocolate-filled. Nope, it was a simple felt & fabric calendar that had a Christmas tree on it with 25 red felt ornaments, one for each day of Advent leading to Christmas Day. We would actually argue over who got to flip over the ornament each day. On the underside of each was an old-timey Christmas picture relating to the story of Jesus' birth. Then tucked in a tiny pocket underneath the ornament was a Bible passage that led up to Jesus' birth. It is one of my absolute favorite things from my childhood.
I set out searching for something like this back when I was preggers with Laura. To my dismay, a quality, Bible-focused Advent calendar was pretty pricey...and, well, I'm cheap. So I decided to put my craftiness to the test and make my own.
I started by buying two ginormous pieces of felt, red and green, as well as a multi-colored pack of Christmas-themed smaller felt pieces. I traced and cut out 25 squares to make pockets for ornaments & Bible passages. I hand-stitched the pockets onto the bigger felt piece. (I also used hot glue because I am sure they'd fall apart otherwise!) Next was my favorite part...picking out all the right Bible passages (see my list below). I can't wait until Laura is older and can read them herself! I added Christmas buttons, ribbon, and the title "Joy" to the top. My mother-in-law added batting and sewed the back piece on to the whole creation. Now I get to fill the pockets with Bible passages & the awesome ornaments (all nativity pieces) that I found at JoAnn's on clearance. Laura's grammy also gave us a little, tiny tree on which to hang the little, tiny ornaments on each day.
This project may seem like a lot of unnecessary work but to me it's priceless. I cannot wait for Laura to grow up hearing the story of Jesus' birth one day at a time in preparation for Christmas Day each year. I hope she loves it as much as we loved ours as kiddos!
Here's the list of Bible passages I used for our calendar:
1. Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
2. Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
3. Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
4. Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
5. Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
6. Isaiah 11:1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
7. Psalm 95:6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
8. Luke 1:29-33 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
9. Luke 1:46-49 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.
10. Luke 2:1-3 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
11. Luke 2: 4-5 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
12. Luke 2: 6-7 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
13. Luke 2: 8-9 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
14. Luke 2: 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
15. Luke 2:11-12 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
16. Luke 2: 13-14 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
17. Luke 2:15-16 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
18. Luke 2:17-18 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19. Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20. Luke 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21. Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
22. Matthew 2:9-10 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
23. Matthew 2: 11-12 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
24. 2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
25. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.