A new (liturgical) year, a new hobby: a family blog! With this blog, it is my hope to document some of the everyday occurrences in our family. Let’s begin with Advent …
My husband, Greg, and I always have desired the focus of this time of year to be the real reason we celebrate Christmas! To remember, with gratitude, hope and joy, the coming of our Lord Jesus into this world to dwell among us and teach us the right ways of God. No easy task when all around us we are surrounded by toys, gifts, Santa, and sentiments such as “All I Want for Christmas …” Believe me, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind! Of course, many of these aspects of the Holiday are fun and perfectly corresponding with celebrating Jesus’ birthday, however, we strive for prioritization.
As the kids, now 6, 4, 3 and 1-year-old twins, are a bit older, we are able to share even more the deeper, more meaningful aspects of Christmas, and the proper way to prepare the way of His coming. Little by little, we are experiencing their excitement, not only in Christmas, but in Advent, the time of preparation before Christmas that allows are hearts and homes to get ready for Christ.
This year, we are doing a few new things:
My mom gave the kids an Advent Calendar last year, and we are using it this Advent to countdown the days until Christmas. Each day, one of the older girls opens the day’s door to find little candies, and then we count how many days until Christmas. They get so excited as the number of days gets fewer and fewer.
We also made a small Advent manger out of craft sticks. We have a small bag of straw, and each time one of the older girls does a good deed, they are permitted to add a piece of straw to the manger. Our goal is to make a soft, warm bed for Baby Jesus by Christmas Day.
Lastly, we are reading a beautiful book, Destination Bethlehem by Sharon Altman and Christine Winkelman. There are 24 chapters, and we read one each night (from Dec. 1-24). It is the story of two boys, Isaac and Jediah, as they travel through Ancient Palestine. As the story unfolds, they find themselves at the heart of the Nativity Story and gradually realize the birth of the Messiah is at hand. Each chapter ends with a cliff-hanger and builds anticipation for reading the following one. Often my 6-year-old wants to keep reading, but I tell her that we have to wait for the next day.
As we enter this second week of Advent, my prayer is that our family grows in our own personal longing for the Lord in our lives; that each of us can grow closer to His loving desire for how He wants us to live together as a family. May our preparations–addressing cards, wrapping gifts, decorating the tree, celebrating with friends–enhance the true essence of this beautiful, hopeful and joyous Holiday.