Family Advent Ideas

Christmas is approaching.  Take a deep breath.  No, a really deep breath.  Let’s talk for a minute.

I know this time of year can be stressful, so it’s hard to make time for little moments when the whole season seems so, looming.  But think about it. Many times, it’s the little moments that are pivotal. How much did you anticipate the birth of your first child, and when did you have that reality check, that electric realization that your life has changed forever?  Maybe it was when you were unwrapping that onesie at the baby shower, or battling heartburn late at night, when it hit you, “this just got REAL”.  Life is like that sometimes.  We have to expose ourselves to an idea or truth over and over until the full force of it can penetrate our hearts.  Kind of like pressing the refresh button on the computer and getting to see a little more of the picture.  It’s not just that anticipation and preparation paint a picture over time that lends authenticity  to an event. It’s that dwelling on truth draws us closer to HIM.   Let’s draw attention to the truth once again.  Let’s shepherd our children’s hearts not toward a Pinterest-perfect Christmas (there you go, the pressure’s off), but to a God who is changing us, and pulling us to him.  And as we do, it will build our own hope and faith. Ready for some ideas?

Below is a “script” that will aid you in your Advent actions over the four weeks before Christmas. We will officially start Advent on December 1st.  The supplies you need are:

  1. The script below
  2. Five candles, three purple, one rose (or pink) and one white.

Before you get totally stressed out about the fact that these colors don’t match your home decor, and you don’t want to spend money on things you are only going to use once, chill out.  I went to the Dollar Store and purchased five candles, (which I wrapped in the appropriate colored paper) a silver tray and a wreath for about $3.  Does it look like I spent only $3?  Yeah, but again, chill out.

Here is another option.  My family lives on UMHB campus, so we are not allowed to light candles.  We could use battery operated tea lights, but we came up with this:

We chose a different color sand in leu of every candle and as we say our prayer every week, we can pour that colored sand into the jar.  We repeat the process with every color weekly, adding the next on top.  On Christmas Eve, it looks like this:

Like those colors? Ha!  Don’t judge me.  It’s what I had on hand.

But it really is a great visual aid. A reminder that intentional moments, no matter how small, matter.  It is remembering and celebrating over time that  allows those  few words, prayers,  and little moments to become one complete picture.  A picture that gets bigger and more lovely the more we tell it.

Okay.  Now, if you are saying, hey, I can do this, in fact, I could do this every day!  Well, bully for you.  There is another option.  Last year, we bought envelopes, stamped them with numbers 1-25, and in each one, I put a scripture, a portion of the Christmas Story, and an activity, game, or question for us to do as a family.  I even found mini chalk boards that we could draw baby Jesus on.  I felt like a combination of Martha Stewart and Mother Theresa.  Until December 18th.

 We had fallen woefully behind and had 6 days of activities to catch up on.

 I was stressed, and saying things like, “Look, it doesn’t matter if Baby Jesus’ hair is neon green, let’s just get through this, people!  We’ve got five more envelopes to get through!”

I was missing the point, and my husband, well.  Let’s just leave that poor tortured soul out of this.

My ideas often run rampant over family peace.  But hey, if you can do this and still have fun, go for it!!!  And if you are hungry for even more ideas you can go to www.childrensministry.com, click on magazine, then search november December 2013.  This will take you to a short list of downloadable crafts and advent ideas.

Enjoy the whole process.  Fall in love with Jesus, little by little, day by day, anticipate HIM.

THE ADVENT SCRIPT

Each day includes a basic introduction, a prayer for God’s help, scripture reading, candle lighting instructions, and a prayer of hope. Download this guide to help your family celebrate Christmas in a new way!