Advent. It means “coming.” It is an invitation to come and adore Christ.
Every year I’m excited for the Advent season. Every year Advent centers my heart on what counts as Christmas nears. It helps me keep close to Christ in 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 is 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.
1. For Me:
This year I will be reading selections from Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas. It is a compilation of writings by classic and modern authors from Martin Luther to Annie Dillard. In past years I have joined in with She Reads Truth’s advent plans or read Ann Voskamp’s devotional The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas.
2. For the Family:
As a family we will be going through Sacred Holidays Advent Study for Families. Along with these readings we will hang our Jesse tree ornaments on some bare branches I will gather from our yard and place in a vase. If you’ve not heard of a Jesse tree, it’s a celebration of Advent using ornaments as symbols to tell the redemption story from the Old Testament through Jesus’ birth and gets its name from Isaiah 11:1: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.”
You can download your very own beautifully watercolored Jesse tree ornaments for free from The Story Warren. They have created a lovely advent package that contains daily readings from Scripture and to go along with the ornaments they provide (you have to print and assemble).
3. For the Kids:
Also, in the morning the kids will follow the Jesus Storybook Advent Reading Plan while eating breakfast. They’ll actually be listening to David Suchet wonderful voice read the passages on CD. Suchet is better known as representing Agatha Christie’s Poirot for Masterpiece Mystery. His dramatic reading of the The Jesus Storybook Bible is captivating.
There are so many Advent options it can be hard to pick just one! But it doesn’t have to be complicated. I hope some of these suggestions and resources will enrich the Christmas season for your family.
If you already celebrate Advent, would you share your family’s tradition in the comment section?