Destination Bethlehem

Destination Bethlehem

I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet, and I’m not trying to jump ahead too quickly. But Advent begins in a week and a half, just three days after Thanksgiving! I have started to think and plan a little bit … What will my family do this year to celebrate and honor this season of anticipation and preparation?
One thing that we did last year that I know we definitely will do again this year is read the book Destination Bethlehem by Sharon Altman and Christine Winkelman. I highly recommend this book, and it’s probably not too late to order a copy! It consists of 24 chapters, one for each night of Advent (well, 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. Last year, my oldest wanted to keep reading, and honestly, so did I, but we were good little readers and always waited to find out what happened the next day =)
Other than the reading of this book, I do not have any set plans. And I have been cautious to add any just yet. You see, this fall, I took on a bit too much. I thought that I could handle it. The twins turn two on Friday, and I thought that it was about time. That might be true. But I overestimated what was realistic for me to add into our family life, and now I’m trying to let go of some things and simplify once again.
So, when I think about Advent, I instantly think about it in a way that means adding more into our lives. And that gets me feeling overwhelmed. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be, and I know that. Hence the cautiousness. Before I can plan, I guess I have to figure out what I can realistically do to bring my family into this season. And do so without feeling like I am going to go crazy.I like what one blogger wrote about Advent plans. She said, “The Advent basket may not reflect the totality of our living out of Advent, but I hesitate to plan or put much more on paper than I have as Advent is a season we try to live out in quiet and simplicity as our hearts are expectant and waiting!” I want our Advent to be peaceful and prayerful. I want to be peaceful and prayerful. I do not want Advent to be a time filled with the things I think we should be doing. But I want it to be meaningful and purposeful. So that we can truly feel like we have arrived at our destination—Bethlehem—ever so ready for the birth of Our Lord on Christmas Day.

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4 thoughts on “Destination Bethlehem

  1. I agree. I am looking for simplicity and peaceful preparation time this year. And SO looking forward to it!!
    I just purchased and received the book you mentioned and we'll give it a try this year. After reading your post, I know it will be the perfect addition to our advent.
    Thank you!

  2. amen!
    i want that peace too.
    especially since the world is screaming "CHRISTMAS TIME!!" but in a shop till you drop. spend all your money. santa is coming sort of way. i want the quiet of bethlehem. the manger. the quiet that was in the heart of the Blessed Virgin. knowing that He had arrived. and it had been said "He would BE peace."
    bless you sarah for spreading this message!

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