The Start of Advent
This past weekend marked the start of Advent, a beautiful time for getting our hearts focused on the Lord as we prepare for Christmas. Advent lasts approximately four weeks, beginning four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. As my friend Jodie Barrett, author of Jingle and Joy says, “The birth of Jesus warrants a time of reflection and celebration.” He certainly does, and while there are many ways to prepare, here are several activities and devotionals to help you embrace the season of Advent.
My family and I have enjoyed Advent for many years, from lighting the candles on the wreath, to reading Scriptures or studying a devotional, and using a calendar to count down the days. Whatever traditions you choose to remember the reason for the season, it is a blessing and privilege to honor Christ.
Take some time each day over the next four weeks to enjoy a special tradition or two with your family. If your new to celebrating Advent, then use one of the suggestions listed below to get you started.
- Make or purchase an Advent wreath and candles. The wreath itself means ‘victory’ as Christ’s victory over sin so He can save us. The evergreens mean He is ‘ever with us.’ It can also include holly berries which represent the shedding of Christ’s blood. The wreath has 4 to 5 candles arranged in a circle symbolizing Christ’s eternity, as the circle has no beginning and no end. There are three purple candles, one pink candle and one white candle. The candles represent hope, preparation, joy, and love, and the fifth candle (white) is the Christ candle.This can be a wonderful tradition for your family, with a different family member lighting the candle each week.
2. Create an Advent calendar with Scriptures. Put in envelopes or pockets numbered with days 1 through 24. Choose a family member each day to read God’s Word. Each day’s verse tells a special part of the Christmas Story. The set pictured below was purchased from Bronner’s. I first saw it in a store in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and loved it. It comes in a kit with all the materials (very affordable) and is super easy to assemble. Or you can make this adorable DIY Advent calendar like miraclemama.blogspot.com
Advent Devotional Books
3. Read an Advent devotional book to keep you focused on the season. Here are three of my favorites (in no particular order–they are my friends and I love them all). The first is Jingle and Joy by Jodie Barrett. This book focuses on prayer and keeping Christ at the center of Christmas and is a brand new devotional. The second is The Gift of Christmas by Kathryn Shirey. This is a brand new book and I ordered it as soon as it was available. This devotional helps us unwrap the gifts of hope, peace, joy and love. And the third book is not so much for me, as it is for us to use as parents or in my case, to use with our little granddaughter. It’s Countdown to Christmas by Lisa Appelo.
4. Set up a Nativity Scene. If the kids are small, make it easy and accessible to them, and tell them the story. Talk about Joseph and Mary, the angel, the Wise Men, and the animals. Read the book, The Shepherd on the Search. It includes interactive stories, Scripture readings and fun family activities. There are several children’s nativity sets available on Amazon, including Melissa and Doug’s Nativity set which little hands love to play with.
Treasure the moments preparing for Jesus and the Christmas season. Savor your time with family reflecting on God’s Word and the Christmas story. Be intentional as you walk through Scripture, unwrapping hope, peace, joy and love. This is the season we celebrate the Messiah.
*If you are interested in purchasing any of the books included in this post, click the title of the book and the link takes you straight to Amazon. By purchasing through these links, a small donation will go to support this ministry.
Praying His Blessings Upon You,