As I have written before, I am trying to be very intentional about making Christmas about Christ in our home. It is soooo easy for me to get swept up in “Christmas”; the fun, the doing, the “magic” of it all. But when my eyes are on the “magic of Christmas”, they are not on Christ; the Gift who came in the form of a Babe. The Gift who would give His life for every one of us. The Gift who gave us Hope.
So, from December 1 until December 24, we have a family advent worship routine. Following this routine helps me to keep my eyes on the true Gift of Christmas, one day at a time.
In the morning (after little belly’s and the chickens have been fed) we snuggle together on the couch to start our day. We start it with our advent worship. This worship routine is our life ring. A life ring aids in rescue and prevents drowning. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in Christmas (and in myself) and this routine helps pull me back and attaches me to Christ. It helps to set the tone for the rest of our day.
Taking this time for our advent worship makes me pause; pause in the hurried rush that the season often brings. It allows me to linger for a moment and celebrate the advent, the coming of Christ. This time is a life ring. It stills me, calms me, centers me and brings me peace.
Photo credit to Grandpa Steffen
As a mother,I feel it is my obligation, my responsibility, my privilege to teach this to my children; to pass on this gift of using advent traditions as a life ring to Christ.
Here are our family’s advent traditions:
1) We say a prayer, asking God to help our ears to hear Him, our eyes to see Him and to bless us with understanding for what we are about to read.
2) We light a candle. Lighting a candle always adds a “specialness” for my kids. I find it seems to calm and quiet them while we read.
3) We read out of Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas. She also includes a Bible text at the beginning of the chapter and has discussion questions at the end. Caleb reads the Bible text she has included in her story out of the Bible before we begin the story. Then the kids will narrate the story back to me and we talk about what we learned in the story. This book is new so this is the first time using it in our advent routine. So far, we all are enjoying it.
4) We open our Acts of Kindness Advent Calender to see what act we get to perform for someone else that day. I have been looking for a simple yet elegant advent calendar for a few years now. I’m finally at a place in my life where I have time to make one so when I found this one on Kristen’s blog, ellaclaireinspired.com, I just had to make it. I’m a sucker for anything grain sack and vintage so she had me at her ribbon alone.
I intentionally left our acts of kindness vague so that each year we are able to perform the act a little differently. For example, Day 1 said “Do something special for Grandpa and Grandma”. The kids decided to draw them pictures this year. Next year, they might decide to do something else.
5) The kids open and eat the chocolate out of their Advent Calendars. Each year, my mom gifts each of her grandchildren an advent calendar. This was a tradition that I had growing up (although she doesn’t buy me one anymore). :/ The kids love to find the window for the corresponding day and eat their chocolate.
There is no “right way” to celebrate God’s advent. All of our homes are different and our advent traditions will look different as well. What’s important is using your advent worship traditions as a life ring during the often busy, hectic and chaotic holiday. Bring your worries, your stress, your anxieties and attach yourself to Christ. He will catch you, slow you down, and guide you through a Christmas of Peace, of Joy, of Love, of Hope.
I would love to hear about how you make advent special in your home…