Today, I had the chance to facilitate the discussion at our Advent Workshop at our Missional Mom’ s group.
Focusing on Advent, the coming of Christ, really has redefined how I face the holiday season. Last year, we sort of stumbled into Advent candles and preparation. I grabbed a handful of devotionals from our church bookstore and just dove in.
This year, we are trying to back up and prepare for the preparing of Advent…if that makes any sense.
If I can get my act together, I’ll try to blog more details about Advent as we go along.
But, I’m listing some of the resources I shared today.
My first challenge is that, Advent begins with you! Having a personal plan for Bible study and scripture and just all out time to spend with Jesus is the most important aspect of focusing on Advent. This isn’t about more activities and more events. This is about an internal spiritual focus on the anticipation of the coming of Jesus and how that daily transforms our hearts.
So, to begin, I believe we have to be challenged to intentionally carving out time to hear from the Lord during a season of flurry and to just abide in His presence!
Reading/Devotionals, whatever you want to call it, Plan for Momma!
If you want to follow a scripture reading plan, I recommend You Version’s Reading Plan on Advent.
Last year, I enjoyed Watch For the Light which is a compilation of authors.
I also read Thomas Merton’s Advent and Christmas.
Max Lucado has a thin and simple one page reading for each day of December called Celebrating Christmas with Jesus.
I also really enjoy the section on Advent from Brennan Manning’s The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus and Noel Piper’s Treasuring God in our Traditions has a wonderful chapter on Christmas and Advent, etc.
Jesse Tree & Advent Candles
As for ideas for little kids and older kids, I really have worked with two main resources.
First, Ann Voskamp’s PDF on the Jesse Tree that has daily scripture reading and even pages to print for Jesse Tree ornaments. I love the symbolism of the Jesse Tree. Here is the link to her blog to sign up to get this free. Trust me, you want to meet Ann. You want to read her book One Thousand Gifts and just read her blog if only to listen to the music playing and calm your soul for a minute.Research this via Ann if you’ve never heard about it.
Here is the link to the free PDF for the Jesse Tree: http://www.aholyexperience.com/free-advent-devotionals-jesse-tree-book/
Look for her sons amazing Advent wooden circle that can be used for Lent, too.
Second, I will be using the Adventure of Christmas book for lots of craft ideas and to help me brush up on my Christmas celebration!This book has so many great ideas on learning more about the history of why we put candles in windows and how the X-mas trend started, etc. It also has recipes for fun traditional food and even to make ornaments, etc. This was written to help encourage conversations with your kids about the true meaning behind Christmas, etc. I also used the page on Candles and Advent to just jump start lighting a candle on the 4 Sundays before Christmas, etc.
We also talked about celebrating with Advent Candles and did this little craft that I found on Pinterest.com via this blog, Pure Joy. If you are not on Pinterest, there are some amazing Advent and Jesse Tree ideas on here. You can also just start google and searching for ideas on things you can do as a family. Google an Advent Coloring page & print it off. There are tons of free printables.
Also, I wanted to fill y’all in that last year, I just bought some purple and pink candles and stuck them on the table.But, this year, I did find a simple round ceramic candle holder that has Hope, Love, Joy & Peace on it. I found it at Hallmark for about $14.95. They do have a few advent candle holders at Yankee Candle, too. But, they sell out fast. You can also look online, of course, I start at Amazon; but Christian and Catholic bookstores carry Advent supplies, too.
Making a plan:
I think it’s great to have a written idea of what to do each day to celebrate Advent.
One of my friend’s compiled a list of area activities for us including festivals and parades and live nativities. We used this and a simple worksheet and a calendar to compile ideas and work through how each family can celebrate. It’s fun to do something every day; but I also don’t want moms all crazy stressed out either. I hope everyone will pay attention to the rhythm of their family life as they plan and pick a pattern that is manageable. If you like lots of activities, plan a all you can. If you need peaceful days at home, plan to have lots of fun family time with hot chocolate and holiday movies, etc.
So, I also shared a sample from Jessi’s blog on Advent last year. Here is a link to the amazing Naptime Diaries blog and her family’s advent plan lat year. (You can thank me later for introducing you to her if you’ve never met her!). But, her list was really inspiring to me last year. A good mix of activity and peacefulness. Also, sign up and make sure you get her blog because I know she’ll have some fun Advent ideas or a calendar or count down printables to come.
I hope to expand a little more on some of this in the weeks to come!
Please share any of your creative ideas below. I encouraged our moms to work out their own advent calendar with a worksheet, etc. I am just learning, so I’d love to hear more resources that you use, etc.
What is special to you about Advent?
How has God used it to change your perspective on the holidays, etc?
Share. Share. Share!