Nativity Resources for Orthodox Christian Families
Thy Nativity O Christ our God, hath shown forth the light of wisdom upon the world, for therein those who worship the stars have been taught by a star to worship Thee, the Sun of righteousness, and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory be to Thee!
The following resources are intended to help families enter into the Orthodox spirit of fasting and preparation which is then followed by the joyful Feast of the Nativity on December 25. Christ is born!
Reading and Listening Room
The Twelve Days of Christmas (PDF): The 12 days of Christmas refer to the period between Christmas and the Eve of Theophany/Epiphany (January 5). This is a time of celebration — rejoicing in the birth of our Lord and Savior! Nativity by proclaiming “Christ is born!” Melissa Tsongranis explains how families can extend the season of Christmas, Orthodox-style.
In Meditations for Advent: Preparing for Christ's birth, the author of the popular Meditations for Great Lent takes us through the hymnography, scripture readings, and iconography for the forty days leading up to the Nativity of Christ, showing how a full understanding of the Incarnation can enrich our spiritual lives.
The Holy Hierarch Nicholas: Who was the real St. Nicholas, and why has his story and life held such staying power? Nicholas of Myra was born at the end of the third century in Patara, on the south coast of Asia Minor, to godly parents who dedicated him to Christ from birth. From childhood, he evidenced a deep love for the Church and learning the services, daily reading the Holy Scriptures and praying.
The Nativity Feast, the Holy Family, and the Domestic Church: Fr. George Morelli examines the Nativity of Christ, especially in light of Joseph and how he and Mary are an example for the domestic church in the home.
The Advent Period in Home Life: How can we live through the preparatory period of Advent as a Christian family?
The People who Sat in Darkness Have Seen a Great Light: An examination of how the Advent season prepares us to receive Christ.
An Orthodox Christian Advent Wreath: How to celebrate each of the Sundays before December 25th
With hymns, stories, meditations, and activities for each day as well as suggestions for the whole season, Celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas provides an invaluable resource for families looking to restore the season of Christmas to its rightful place in their lives.
The Miracle of St. Nicholas: A curious boy named Alexi learns about how Christmas was once celebrated in his grandmother's time, and sets out to bring the Nativity celebration to his village once again.
A Perfect Christmas: This book reclaims the spirit of Christmas from the commercial secularized culture of the “winter holidays” that has almost obliterated the Christian meaning of the celebration of the birth of Christ. Author Dennis Eugene Engleman and illustrator Niko Chocheli have collaborated to restore St. Nicholas (“Santa Claus”) to his rightful place in the imagination of children, and perhaps their parents too!
The Nativity of Our Lord: From the Twelve Great Feasts series, this book presents the Nativity of Christ in simple verses and pictures for young children.
Lucia, Saint of Light: Long revered in both East and West, St. Lucia is an early virgin martyr whose life and legacy shine as a light of faith, hope, and compassion in the darkness of winter and sin. Lucia, Saint of Light introduces young readers to both her life and her delightful festival as it is traditionally celebrated in Sweden and around the world.
The Miraculous Child: A charming, delightfully illustrated Russian folktale about a poor family who entertains an angel unawares.
North Star: St. Herman of Alaska: Author and illustrator Dorrie Papademetriou tells the story of this loved American saint, who is remembered by the Church calendar in December.
Silent As A Stone: A true story of remarkable courage and hope in the face of Nazi terror during World War II.
Orthodox Gift Giving Guide: Books, cards, icons and more
Playing it Up for Christmas: Twelve Christmas plays and skits your family or parish can perform during the Nativity season, from the Orthodox Church in America's Department of Christian Education
The Liturgical Year for Little Ones: Simple Nativity crafts and activities for families based on the Orthodox calendar
Gift the Gift of Love: The IOCC lists projects parents can adopt for family Christmas giving
Discovering the truth about Santa Claus: A site with games, stories, crafts and more, all aimed at teaching kids about St. Nicholas, the real Santa!