Advent. It means "coming." It is an invitation to come and adore Christ.
Every year I'm excited for Advent. Every year Advent centers my heart on what counts as Christmas nears. It helps me keep close Christ, amidst the hustle and bustle so that Christmas Eve doesn't arrive and it just dawns on me, O yeah, I'm supposed to be celebrating Jesus' birth!
It can be so easy to get caught up in the stress and expectations of Christmas: to make it bigger and better. But I want to teach my kids Christmas isn't about the tree, lights, cookies, and gifts. It's not about materialism or even family. It's about the coming of Jesus.
So this is how we'll quieting our hearts this Christmas.
I'll be reading Ann Voskamp's advent devotional The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas. I also will be sporadically reading Nancy Guthrie's compilation of Advent readings entitled Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.
For the Kids:
We'll be reading through Ann Voskamp's A Jesse Tree Journey, which was a free printable a few years ago. I don't think it's still available. The kids will hang the ornaments that came with it to create their own Jesse tree.
Also, in the morning we'll be doing this Jesus Storybook Advent Reading Plan while eating breakfast. We'll actually be listening to the David Suchet read version on CD. Suchet is better known as Agatha Christie's Poirot for Masterpiece Mystery. I guarantee you he does such a better and more dramatic reading than I would. :)
A Few More Resources:
I also downloaded and saved the following resources for future use:
Faith Gateway is distributing this version of the Jesus Storybook Advent plan that also includes printable ornaments.
The Story Warren put together an advent package I'll be sure to use next year. Unfortunately, it came out too late for me to have it printed and ornaments created, so I hope to use this for the kids next Christmas. It contains readings and beautifully watercolor illustrations to hang as ornaments on a Jesse Tree.
There are so many advent options it can be hard to pick one. But it doesn't have to be complicated. Just pick one and I guarantee it will enrich the Christmas season.
If you already celebrate Advent, would you share your family's tradition in the comment section?