Sunday, November 28, 2010

Presents for Jesus

A couple of years ago, I developed a "virtue cross" for my catechism class to use during Lent.  I created the activity to help the children learn appropriate behavior in our atrium.  We selected a few behaviors we wanted to reinforce, like reverence, kindness or respect of property.  Whenever one of the catechists "caught" a child doing one of these behaviors, that child was given a colorful sticker to add to a blank cross on the wall.

At the end of the year, the plain white cross was transformed into a beautiful creation because of the colorful stickers.  We complimented the children and pointed out how their virtuous actions had created something beautiful in our atrium.

Since that time, I've toyed with the idea of creating a similar work for Advent.  Today I finally sat down and created our new activity, which I've titled "Presents for Jesus."  Using my desktop publishing program, I drew two boxes on a page.  I divided the main section of each box into 1/2" x 3/4" rectangles, which are the same size as Avery's All Purpose Labels (available at most office supply stores).  Using markers, I colored one sheet of labels purple and another sheet pink.

 Tomorrow I will explain to the children that the best gift we can give to Jesus is our good behavior.  I will ask them to select four different virtues they would like to work on during Advent.  Whenever they are caught doing the virtue, they will be given an appropriate sticker and can use it to fill a space on one of Jesus' gift boxes.
Our goal will be to fill all four
gift boxes by Epiphany.  We will work together to create the beautiful packages for Jesus, rather than competing to see who puts the most stickers on the package.

This activity could easily be adapted to a home environment, either as a family activity or homeschool activity. I've uploaded the "Presents for Jesus" pdf  here if you would like to try it at home.  If you do, please post a comment and tell us about it!

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