Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Bible movies during the first weeks of Advent

Many liturgical Christians including Catholics prepare for Christmas by making a Jesse tree and following the scripture readings that go with each day of the season. My family and I use the pictures with the associated readings from the Domestic Church.com. The pictures are fun for the kids to color in. I then cover them with clear plastic, cut them out and put a ribbon through them to hang on the Jesse tree.

Our Jesse tree was pretty easy to make too. We took an old coffee can, filled it about half way with quick setting cement, and sunk a metal tube in the middle of it. We placed a branch we found lying around outside into the tube and covered it with decorations we bought at the craft store. These are what we hang our Jesse Tree ornaments from. This stays up until Christmas.

Since we are going through the readings of early Advent, I always find it an appropriate time to show some of my favorite bible movies produced by Turner Network Television (TNT). I enjoy these films because they are well made, entertaining, and seem to grasp the children's attention.

I also like them because of how they seem to accurately portray what life was like during biblical times. The terrain is difficult, the weather is intense, the clothing is simple, and there is a lot of energy spent on simply surviving. Yet God is such a large part of their lives and their lifestyle.

Of the series, my favorites are Abraham and Joseph and Moses.

Abraham is played by the late Richard Harris. He portrays the patriarch as very simple, devoted and brave. Harris made the role his own and as a viewer I found myself very sympathetic to many of the situations in which he finds himself with running such a huge clan. Through it all Abraham's faithfulness is striking in this performance.

The movie of Joseph is also well done. When Joseph finds himself at a real low point of captivity and prison, the director masterfully illustrates for us how even our despair and desolation are used as part of God's masterful plan. As an adult I have thought about Joseph, and particularly the seen from this movie, when Joseph ask God why he has forsaken him, many times. It is a powerful film.

But Ben Kingsley is not to be missed in Moses. When his Moses knees at the burning bush and shakes his head crying, "not me, not me, not me!" it makes me laugh every time. What adult Christian following a call has not said that a time or two.

Parts of these stories do sale over the heads of the younger children, although they can follow the gist of the story. But I have found that every year they pick up more and more and can even comment on how closely they follow the actual scriptures.

So before the Christmas tree goes up and the DVD gets warmed up to play Christmas fare, my recommendation is to spend sometime making a Jesse tree, and then follow our salvation history with some of these great movies.

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