I had planned to blog about each week of Advent. As usual, I didn’t get around to it during week one. But I am getting around to it now!
Each Advent, I make it a point to be very intentional with what we do as a family. Christmas is a celebration to remember the birth of Jesus. I try to make sure our Christmas activities reflect that. As a Mom, (and you Moms out there feel me on this) it can be so easy to loose sight of what is best for what is flashiest or most. It can be hard to keep your family focused on the manger, when Rock Star Mickeys and fat guys in red hats fight for the kid’s attention. It can be easy to skip the activities with your family that help them share in the spirit of Christmas when it is so tempting to use your limited time shopping. Intentionally using the weeks of Advent as a guide keeps me from those traps. I can use those weeks to guide our family activities. (And you know my “no” rule come holiday time! From Thanksgiving to Christmas, my answer to everything extra is first “no.” If I want to change my mind late, I can- and sometimes do. But my immediate response is “no.” It helps me prioritize and not let my calendar fill up with other things. It allows me to look at things based on necessity, rather than felt pressure or obligation.)
We started Advent with the week of Expectation. (Last year, we did hope. This year expectation. I don’t know why. Ask The Pastor.) I gave the kids Advent gifts. We broke out of Christmas music. We put the Christmas scents in the Scentsy. We dipped our toes in the season, but didn’t fully immerse ourselves just yet. We talked about Israel, awaiting the coming Messiah. We talked about what we would have expected had someone promised us a Savior, a Hero. We sang “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” (Aidan’s favorite Christmas song) over and over throughout our daily activities. We took the time to get excited about what is coming. We painted a nativity set and set it out on the mantel. We read the Isaiah prophesies. We talked about what it means to expect something, to look forward to it. We weren’t yet in the season, we were looking toward the season- standing at the edge waiting excitedly to take the plunge.
I think the second week of Advent is the kid’s favorite- The Week of Preparation! This is the week we prepare for the coming Messiah. We read some more Isaiah prophesies (if you are only reading Luke at Christmas, you’re missing out. You’re missing the entire prophesy of the coming Messiah, all the hope in looking toward the birth of a King.) and included some gospel readings. We move beyond just hope and expectation and begin to prepare for Christmas- prepare for the Messiah. We got and put up our tree and decorated it. We broke out the Christmas decorations. We began watching our Christmas DVDs. (The favorites around here are The Nativity Story, The Star of Christmas [Veggie Tales], The Toy That Saved Christmas [Veggie Tales], and Praise Baby: Joy To The World. Elf might barely make the list.) I baked a little. We took the plunge into the season.
This Advent, as we move through the weeks leading to the manger, be intentional about your activities. Be intentional in your discussions with your children. Use Advent as a time to not only teach your kids about Jesus, but to experience it yourself. Don’t just bake cookies! Bake cookies for a reason!