Somehow it’s Wednesday. I don’t know where the time goes, but it flies by! This is probably a sign that I’m getting old. Perfect.
I wanted to share this post with you on Monday and be ready for the week and all that stuff, but there’s this crazy thing going on at my house lately that totally gets in the way of the blog!
It seems homeschooling a 9th grader and a 3rd grader isn’t so easy. It will be a miracle if my kids come out of this year in one piece! I won’t be surprised if I even sprout a grey hair! So far, I’m old AND grey. Send wine now.
I’m super excited about Christmas. I know, I know. I’m excited about Thanksgiving too! I LOVE Thanksgiving! I don’t want to miss one single second of it either! While I’m not a fan of all the retailers essentially skipping Thanksgiving, I do think a little Christmas preparation is necessary for the sake of December sanity.
December 1st seems to sneak up on me, and I hate starting the month off feeling like I’m already behind.
In theory, I’d like December to be a time filled with peace, joy, and family traditions. I try to stay away from the hustle and bustle of it all, but that’s easier said than done. There is still Christmas shopping to be done!
How can you we keep our hearts and minds focused on the true meaning of the season with our families?
It’s important to me that, as a parent, I create new family traditions for my children. These are special traditions that started right under our roof! Our own Christmas traditions that my boys can take with them and share with their own children one day. I want them to look back on all of their Christmases with a happy heart, but most of all I want them to look back and see Jesus at the center of it all!
In years past, I’ve done several things with the boys to make the season special and I’ll be sharing all of the ideas they love here!
Today I’m sharing some of my favorite Advent resources!
When I first began to learn about the history of Advent, the Christmas Story from my childhood took on a whole new meaning. I was refreshed with the biblical and historical background of the story of my Savior coming to this earth for me (and you). I’ll tell you about the Bible Study I did in just a minute. But, maybe you’re like I was? Perhaps Advent isn’t something you’re really familiar with?
I grew up in what was supposed to be a christian home (that’s a post for another day), but I was never taught about the true meaning of Advent. Don’t get me wrong, we had some great Christmas memories, but Advent wasn’t a time that my family focused on growing up. I was 29 before I discovered how amazing this time of year really is, and I knew then that I wanted to pass on this knowledge to my boys. I wanted them to experience Christmas anew, and I hope they cherish every Advent memory we’ve ever made together. Some of those Christmas memories are my best motherhood moments.
A little background
“The Latin word for “advent” means “the coming”. The Advent season was instituted as a time for fasting for holy living and it remains a time of inward preparation for the commemoration of the coming Christ. It’s much more than a one day celebration, it’s a month to be still and remember the God of our past, present, and future. ” –Anne Marie Stewart, Preparing My Heart for Advent
This is one of my favorite times of the whole year, and I’m hoping to share many of our Advent traditions with you. I even made a mediocre graphic for it!
Consider this your call to build some new family traditions! Let’s experience Christmas anew together this year and pass on our very own Advent Traditions to our kids!
First things first-My Favorite Advent Resources
#1 Advent Candles!
If you plan to get an Advent wreath or light candles each week, be sure to order them online now. I’ve learned it can be very difficult to find pink and purple candles on the store shelves during this time of year. You don’t have to have pink and purple candles, but these are the traditional colors used in most Advent wreaths. I’m a traditional kind of girl and like the pink and purple. You’ll light your first candle on the first Sunday of Advent. (This year that happens to be December 1st!)
So order candles.
I found my Advent wreath at a local thrift store a couple of years ago and love it! I lucked out with my thrift find, but I know Hobby Lobby carries them for around $5. You can also hit Pinterest for some alternatives to traditional wreaths if you can’t find one that you like in stores.
#3 Preparing My Heart for Advent By Ann Marie Stewart
This is my all time favorite Christmas Bible Study! Now, I have to warn you. I didn’t tell you about it soon enough. The study material is designed to be completed during the month of November and then there are light devotionals during the month December.
It’s a study of the Christmas story like you’ve never read before and I highly recommend it. It changed my knowledge of the Advent season forever and it truly is the the reason why this time of year is so special to me.
I break out my old copy every year and actually have it sitting next to me now as I type. Even though your dates won’t match up with the daily assignments and devotionals, there’s so much knowledge to be gained from reading it. You could easily do the study and devotionals together and complete the whole thing during December. I plan on revisiting some of it over the next weeks just because it helps get my heart focused in the right direction.
Other family favorites that we’ve read, used, and loved…
#4 The ADVENTure of Christmas: Finding Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions By Lisa Whelchel
This book is filled with activities, devotionals, and recipes. There’s a ton of information to share with your children about the meaning behind things like the Christmas tree, hanging lights, wreaths, and so much more. Each section includes “teachable moments” and activities that coordinate with each of the Advent traditions. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to begin creating new Advent traditions with their family!
This nativity set is so special! It’s an interactive nativity that will bring the Christmas story to life. The kit includes a book and a devotional that goes with each person from the Christmas story. Each nativity figure comes wrapped in in it’s own gift box. As you open each box and read the devotional, your child will learn how special each person is and how wonderfully God used them. There’s a super awesome surprise ending that I won’t spoil! It’s a must have in our home and my boys still look forward to it every year.
This is another great recommendation for the whole family. It’s a perfect night time read aloud. Turn off the TV, grab your hot cocoa, and spend 15 minutes focusing on the true meaning of the Christmas season each night with your kids. The book is divided into four chapters representing hope, peace, love, and joy. Each chapter includes devotional readings, fun facts, and lots of interesting Advent tidbits that everyone in the family will enjoy. We have the hardcover version, but this eBook looks exactly the same.
Advent calendars are fun way to count down to Christmas morning. Some can be filled with candy, a special bible verse, or treat. We made A Muffin Tin Advent Calendar a few years ago and I LOVE it! Mostly, because it’s reusable! You can see those instructions here.
What holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?
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