Christ comes right to your Christmas tree and looks at your family tree and says, “I am your God, and I am one of you, and I’ll be the Gift, and I’ll take you. Take Me?” – Ann VosKamp
I’ve joined some wonderful ladies to bring you stories and ideas of how we celebrate Advent, in the hopes it inspires you this Christmas season! Scroll to the bottom of the post for links to their blogs!
The true light, who gives light to everyone was coming into the world. John 1:9
Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. For hundreds of years people have celebrated Advent. It always begins four Sundays before Christmas and through Christmas Eve. I’m sure over the years some aspects of the celebration have changed. I’m sure new traditions have been added as cultures have changed. But one thing remains. It is a time to celebrate the coming of Immanuel, God with us. So first and foremost I like to make sure our hearts are preparing for Christ. My hope each Advent season [and all year long] is that our hearts and minds are fixed on Him and what Christmas means for us as children of God. Not only rejoicing in His first coming, but of His return.
Simple Ways to Celebrate
Create an Advent wreath. The circular evergreen wreath represents God’s infinite love for us and the hope of eternal life which is given to us through Jesus. A couple of years ago I stumbled upon an inexpensive and simple advent candle holder at a local craft store. We’ve used it every year since. It’s not fancy, but I love setting it in this old enamel bowl with some greenery and beeswax candles. I opt for natural colored beeswax [we like to roll our own. You can also go the traditional route and buy colored beeswax candles instead. While rolling your candles, listen to Christmas music centered around Jesus. Maybe you could incorporate a small lesson on the history of the advent wreath, and what each candle means. I’ve included Advent cards for you to use below…here these are another option here
How to use the cards. Pray each Sunday as you prepare to light the candle. Read the passage from the Bible, sing the song I’ve mentioned or another. Discuss and Reflect about what the scripture passage means to us as followers of Christ. Ask your children simple questions in relation to the passage.
Buy or make an Advent Calendar to display. For the past several years I’ve crafted an Advent calendar. I’ve done little bags hung by clothes pins, I’ve done little paper bells with a verse written on the back, and this year I’ve opted to make my own fabric calendar. It was a small labor of love, but I really love it and plan to use it in the years to come. I’ve opted to tuck our Pip and J Papery Advent cards in each little pocket. You can see more about how I made it in my stories on Instagram.
Read Books or Devotionals. We will be using our Advent cards this year for Devotions. I think I’ll use one for our family devotions at night and one set during the school day. We will also be reading the Advent Jesse Tree Devotional together as a family. I also like to take this time to do my own personal devotional in the morning during my quiet time. Each year I’ve read The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. I’ve also read Woman of Christmas, many times and it’s a true favorite as well. This year I’m hoping to purchase a new devotional. I’m still deciding between She Reads Truth and The Well Watered Woman.
Other books you may enjoy. This is the Christmas Story – A Kids Read Truth Story and Scripture Book // A Jesus Christmas // The Dawning of Indestructible Joy – John Piper [ I haven’t read these, but I may just get some of them this year! ]
Create a Christmas Playlist and sing a song for each night. These are my favorites.
1. O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Casting Crowns 2. O Come All Ye Faithful – Casting Crowns // 3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Mercy Me // 4. Go Tell it on the Mountain- Francesca Battistelli // 5. Angels We Have Heard on High – Mercy Me or Chris Tomlin // 6. The First Noel – Chris Tomlin // 7. Silent Night – Casting Crowns // 8. Joy to the World – Casting Crowns // 9. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – Casting Crowns // 10. O Holy Night – Carrie Underwood // 11. You’re Here – Francesca Battistelli // 12. Light of the World – Lauren Daigle // 13. Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Phil Wickham // 14. O Little Town of Bethlehem – // 15. Away in a Manger – Casting Crowns // 16. Do You Hear What I Hear – Bing Crosby or Glee Cast // 17. What Child is This? – Francesca Battistelli // 18. Little Drummer Boy – Mercy Me // 19. Cloverton’s Christmas version of Hallelujah Christmas // 20. We Three Kings // 21. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear – Mercy Me // 22. We Sing Joy – Cloverton // 23. Hearts Waiting – Matt Redman // 24. Oh What a Glorious Night – Sidewalk Prophets // 25. Hope Was Born This Night – Sidewalk Prophets
Share your joy with your community. Last year we started a new tradition, The Giving Manger. A simple explanation is that you receive a book, manager and baby Jesus with straw. With each act of kindness you/your children add in a piece of straw. The idea is to fill the manger with the straw by Christmas, just in time for Jesus. I think this is such a simple and beautiful way to teach our children about kindness, giving, selflessness and the true meaning of Christmas. It’s a wonderful way to be share our love of Jesus to those in your community. It doesn’t have to be big or extravagant, just simple acts of kindness done in love. We also love participating in Operation Christmas child. Our kiddos love picking out little presents to send to a couple boys/girls around the world. You can even track your box to see what country it ends up in! How neat is that?
Snuggle up for a family friendly movie. We love watching Christmas movies and while some of them are just for fun I like to sprinkle in some good for the soul ones too. Some of our favorites are
1. Veggie Tales – Merry Larry // 2. The Nativity Story // 3. Veggie Tales -The Little Drummer Boy // 4. The Star // 5. The Nativity Episode from The Bible Mini Series // 6. The Christmas Candle
I’ve heard about this baby boy who’s come to earth to bring us joy and I just want to sing this song to you…it goes like this the 4th the 5th the minor fall the major lift with every breath I’m singing Hallelujah. Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah – Cloverton
Thanks so much for stopping by today friends! Remember to head over and check out these wonderful posts from my sweet friends!
Blessings and Happy Advent