I’m so excited about this year’s GodVenture Sticker Advent Calendar Poster. It’s a massive A1, with, of course, stickers which tell the story and a really rather lovely Christmas Storybook with the story text straight from the CEV Bible. The book can be read one section a day, with each story section matching up with the sticker for that day.
As I started out with this calendar, I wanted the pictures to somehow reflect the geography of the story, so as you look at this year’s calendar, you’ll see:
- the angel visiting Mary and Joseph in Nazareth in North
- the wise men and king Herod in Jerusalem to the south of Nazareth just north of Bethlehem (you can find it on google maps!)
- shepherds in fields outside Jerusalem (they were probably caring for lambs for temple offerings)
- Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem
There were also some other details I thought it would be good to have, especially as I believe in not teaching something people might have to unlearn later:
- There’s no stable, as the Bible doesn’t mentioned it, and Jesus was probably not born in one, as the hospitality culture of Israel wouldn’t have allowed a pregnant relative to be turned out in the cold! More likely, the ‘inn’ which was full has been poorly translated, and is more likely to be ‘guest room’. This would have been the guest room of one of Joseph’s relatives who would have expected to have them to stay along with all their other relatives arrived for the census. There may only have been one guest room and it was full (see the lady looking out of the window on the right of the house at the bottom of the picture), so Mary and Joseph would have stayed in the main family room which would have been next to or part of where the animals lived, thus the presence of a manger. In our picture , we’ve taken off the outside wall of the house so we can see inside. As you can see from the picture, it’s made of stone, not wood.
Other details you can find are:
- Mary busy making her wedding dress with two other ladies, as was the tradition when a young woman become engaged
- work men and tools as Joseph’s house where he’s building an extension to house his new bride and family to be
- Joseph and Mary getting married in a traditional Jewish shelter or ‘huppa’ complete with a shofar blowing Rabi (blown to announce the wedding), because the Bible text says Joseph woke from his dream and married Mary (you’ll see this when you add the sticker)
- chief priests and teachers of the law in Herod’s palace, as they are definitely mentioned in the Bible story
- Joseph and Mary returning to Nazareth with the young boy, Jesus.
I realise by switching between Luke and Matthew’s account we are merging two accounts, and, due to space restriction, I have omitted Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph’s visit to the temple and the Herod killing the infants. However, I am sure that those wanting the WHOLE story will own a Bible and will be able to add in the sections I’ve missed.
As in previous years, the calendar has Jesus being born before day 25. This is because in order to tell the story, we have to get the shepherds and wise men visit him, and we only have 25 days on the calendar. But fear not! There is a sticker for day 24 and it DOES feature Jesus.
I hope you enjoy using the calendar as much as I have making it. I think you will agree that the artist, Helen Shipton, has done a brilliant job of bringing the story to life and creating something attractive and useful for to help us celebrate Jesus this Christmas. Get your poster calendar here