We believe that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth. While we love the traditions that have grown up around Christmas (hot cocoa, lights on houses, cookie exchanges and Christmas trees!), we are very aware that without intentional teaching, our children could easily grow up thinking that Christmas is mostly about getting gifts, tasty treats, and time off from school - all good things that our family joyfully partakes in! If you believe that Christmas is about so much more than these seasonal delights, you may be interested in celebrating the season of Advent, the anticipation of the coming of the Savior of the world, Christ Jesus.
Another thing to do?: I understand that another thing to do in the middle of a VERY, VERY busy season might seem undesirable, but let me encourage you that you could choose ONE thing from the Advent traditions we have been building on for the last 8 years. We DID NOT start all of these at once! We started with a simple Bible story about the King being born in a manger and a Little Tykes nativity set. For some, Advent might just be a mindful awareness of Jesus amidst the normal celebrations - it could be a simple conversation as you go looking at lights in your neighborhood (Jesus IS the light of the world! How many nativities can you spy?), or maybe you’ll find inspiration in just one of these activities. For our family, celebrating Advent has brought a richness to Christmas that is well worth the preparation. Some of the activities are for everyday, others are for Sundays.
So what do we do? We begin our daily activities on December 1st. Each morning we read the Advent Table Cards from She Reads Truth for kids as a morning devotional (available here). Our kids also have Advent calendars that require them to move an object forward to the correct day of the month. In the evenings, we read from the Jesus Storybook Bible. They also have an Advent calendar from their grandparents that has a daily piece of chocolate for them to eat (hey, it's sweet to celebrate Jesus!). In addition to the daily activities, we have a special Advent time on Sunday evenings. You can find our Sunday Advent Plan and Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Reading Plan here.
Whether you choose to borrow one, all, or none of our traditions, we hope that this year's Advent season will be particularly meaningful for you. Merry Christmas!