For several years, I’ve tried to be intentional through advent, a time to slow down and focus on Jesus’ birth. I’m thankful our church makes a pretty big deal about advent, because it has been something I’ve really loved learning and practicing as an adult. While it never looks perfect, I’ve found that a little planning ahead of time has helped meet this heart goal. This year I’m hoping to do a bible reading plan with a group of friends. I know it will get a little crazy since our due date is December 15th, but I don’t want to put everything on hold until the baby or the waiting will just stretch on longer.
I’m planning to use the She Reads Truth advent plan this year, and if you’d like to join in mark your calendars for Sunday, November 29th. You can read the Advent plan for free, with a massive community of women, on the She Reads Truth website (details HERE). I also pre-ordered the Advent study pack, which includes a printed book of the devotionals + bible readings, plus Christmas carol sheet music, recipes, printed memory verse cards, and two 8×10 prints.
If you want to do the plan with your husband, the He Reads Truth website launched this year and will include an advent reading plan too. Again, free on the site or you can buy the coordinating book, if your guy likes .
As my kids are growing older, that also helps to create space to talk more about the mystery and amazing story of the bible. Last year, we hung the Naptime Diaries Advent Cards across our mantle to count down the days of Advent. They are not only beautiful decorations, but they help us stay focused on one-day-at-a-time in a holiday that can feel rushed. I love the idea of writing something for your family to do that day on the back of each card – big or small.
The kids also watched the movie, Veggie Tales: Saint Nicholas, A Story of Joyful Giving, which helped to explain why Jesus is the center of the Christmas story and how Santa is based on a real person, Saint Nicholas, who was incredibly generous. As a family, we are still trying to decide how to handle all the Santa traditions, not to mention the advertising onslaught of the holidays. This story made it easier to keep the main thing the main thing, while still including the fun of Santa.
I’d love to find a children’s nativity set for our kids too, since the only one we have is glass. I like this Haba Nativity Set the best.
Finally, I heard this idea in a sermon a few years ago, and our kids may be old enough to try it out this year. Or maybe Zach and I will just do it, who knows. Take a cardboard oatmeal box and cut out a square on the side to resemble a manger. Place a jar of yellow paper strips next to the cardboard oatmeal box with a pen. As the holidays approach, look for moments to do an anonymous kindness for family, friends, or strangers. For each kindness, place a yellow paper strip in the manger, creating a soft bed for baby Jesus by the time Christmas day comes. Older kids could even write a description of the kindness on the sheet of paper.
What are your special Advent traditions? Anything new you are going to try this year?