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CHRIST OUR SAVIOR
FAMILY LITERATURE STUDY IDEAS

     Several years ago while poking around in an old bookshop I found a copy of Christ Our Savior.  I had never heard of the book before.  Though showing years of wear, this 1909 copy had a beautiful embossed cover of Victorian style that grabbed my attention.  I became intrigued with the idea of reading this book for family worship so that our children could obtain a stronger grasp of Christ and His life from birth to the cross.
     The books of yesteryear were written with a flavor that is hard to come by today.  and this book is certainly no different.  Recently, I pulled this dated copy of Christ Our Savior off the shelf again because the children in our church are studying the life of Jesus.  It has been a privilege to yet again read this beautiful story.  And while I am excited that Christ Our Savior has now come back in print, I will always treasure my old copy even though it is slightly worn and the biding is wiggly.
     Reading the Life of Jesus is so important.  Start with the Bible accounts and then read through Christ Our Savior chapter by chapter.  This will give you time to talk about what you are reading.  And also give you time to add in a selection from another book that may help bring to life the time period in which Jesus lived.

     Secure a copy of Augustus Caesar’s World by Genevieve FosterThis is back in print.  Foster wrote books on history for her children because she wanted them to get a broad overview of the history of the whole world during a given time period.  This book starts with 44 B.C. and ends with 14A.D., however, Foster does cover the Apostle Paul and Christ’s Death on the cross.

     Whether you read through the whole book over a period of several weeks or just read portions that seem to coordinate with each chapter in Christ Our Savior, Augustus Caesar’s World will give you an interesting overview of what was happening everywhere during Christ’s lifetime here on earth.  Foster writes with a captivating style that keeps your attention.  I haven’t found an easier way to learn history than just reading good books.  Our family has really enjoyed reading this book - written in in interesting story form.  We've learned alot about the people who lived just before, during and after the era of Jesus' life.

     While you are reading Christ Our Savior don’t forget to scour your public library or used book stores for books on Ancient Rome and the Hebrews.  There are many available now that are bright and colorful.  And they even contain a few projects that you can do.  Some that we’ve found helpful are:

Usborne’s Time Traveler the Romans
Make It Work! The Roman Empire
Life in Ancient Rome
Classical Kids—an Activity guide to Life in Ancient Greece & Rome
Ancient Rome  (from the Nature Company Discoveries Series)
Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome
Growing Up in Ancient Rome
The Roman Colosseum  by Elizabeth Mann
Who were the Romans?  (Usborne)
DK Eyewitness book—Ancient Rome
Spotlights—The Romans by Oxford Press
Greenleaf Guide to Ancient Rome
Living History—the Hands-On Approach to History (published by Two-Can Pub)
Roman Times by Philip Steele
The Crafts & Culture of the Ancient Hebrews by Joann  Jovinelly
Past World's Atlas of Archaeology
Tapes out of Diana Waring’s What In the Worlds Going on Here? Vol 1
Your Story Hour Tapes from Volume 4 & 5
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
City by David Macaulay
Roman City by David Macaulay
Atlas of Ancient Worlds by DK
Joel Boy of Galilee

     While you won’t read every one of the titles above, they are useful for pictures and maps, time lines, and intros to the people who lived in them.  The books will also contain craft ideas and also give your children something to work with when trying to draw their own pictures.

     The point is not that you read every last detail—it is that we acquaint our children with a time period and it’s people.  Once children see other people that lived in or around the time of Christ they begin to form mental pictures of how Jesus lived, how He dressed, what the people were like, what the government was like etc.  This makes the Life of Christ real.  And when children gain this understanding of the times that Jesus came to live in, they really discover a God that could love them to send Jesus into such a place and time.

     This is also a wonderful time to read about Pompeii.  Vesuvius exploded about 40 years after Christ, but again, the time period is close enough to really show children more of the time.  A good book to read is :
The Buried City of Pompeii by  Shelley Tanaka.

     When you are done reading this great book together, perhaps you want to learn alittle more about volcanoes and make one yourself.

     Take time to do a little copywork from the book Christ Our Savior each day.  Copy scriptures that go along with it into a journal.  Your child can illustrate their copywork any way they choose.  By looking through some of the titles listed above your children will have pictures to look at and draw from.  Have younger children narrate back to you what you have read.  You can write or type it out for them to put in their own notebooks.

     Have your child find a map of the geographical areas of Rome and Jerusalem from the time of Christ.  Archaeological map books are helpful for this.  Using these maps they can trace the steps of Jesus and the other famous people who lived during His life time.  Make a copy if possible of the map for your child's notebook - you could enlarge the map and your child could use a highlighter pen to mark the path or places Jesus used or went to.  They can use different color markers for other famous people and where they traveled.

     Scripture is so important for children to commit to memory.  Try taking the following two Thy Word Creation Tape sets and use one at a time - using one for two weeks daily til it is committed to memory and also write out the verses.  They are two chapters of the Bible that really tell volumes about Jesus:
Thy Word Creations  Tape & Book set  Temptations of Jesus
Thy Word Creations  Tape & Book set Isaiah 53

     Take time to make something with your child that brings to life the period in which Christ lived.  Whether it is a clay pot, piece of clothing, money bag, mosaic or their own drawing, by working with their hands - they using more of their brain and thereby making what they study stick in their minds more permanently.

     Enjoy studying this subject with your Children.  Take time to read the chapter slowly.  Talk about the Life of Jesus when He was a child. How He acted and what enabled Him to act the way He did.  Is this possible for any of us?  Of course!  Help your child to see that while Jesus was Holy, He condescended to be a child and man just like them.  He chose the hardship of poverty to be just like us.  Jesus loves the children.  He wants them to see how much He really loves them.  Make sure that this comes through.  When you read other books (like Foster's 'Augustus Caesar's World) help your child to understand - that yes, this is the way life was when Jesus came.  Help them to see the similarities between our world today and Christ's of old and also the differences.  Perhaps they could journal these ideas and thoughts.

     These are ideas are not an end in themselves.  They are just a sampling—I try to present before my children good thoughts, good books, good science, and good fun.  And this is one of the simplest ways to learn history.  And your children will retain what they learn better.

     May you be blessed as you read this beautiful book of Jesus Life and also as you learn the history of the time period too.  May it draw you closer to the One who is the Author of history.  And if you make a journal while studying this book and ideas - please take a minute and make a copy for me.  I'd love to see it!!

Copyright by Joan LaCelle & LaCelle Family Ministries
9199 Howd Road Camden, NY 13316