Savor the ADVENTure!

I wish it would just get here already.

I’m so sick of Christmas, and it’s not even here yet.

I can’t wait for Christmas to be over.

Sadly, I have heard those words while out and about recently.  Even when leaving Sunday services.  It hurts to see what Christmas has become to so many.  Though I have little control over marketing and advertising and the secular hubbub of the season, I can make certain that in my home… our hearts are well-prepared for this joyous holiday.

The season of Advent is the season of waiting and anticipation.  It’s more than a countdown calendar on the wall.  We celebrate this time of preparation not as an impractical boycott of all things Christmas until December 24, but as a way to learn about and savor the signs and scents and wonders of the season.

We are using the ADVENTures family devotional by Terry and Rich Steinke as a guide, but you don’t have to own a manual to enjoy a meaningful Advent season.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Make your own advent wreath to use as a centerpiece.
  • As you receive Christmas cards, put them in a basket.  Pick one each night after supper and say a prayer for that family.
  • Make paper snowflakes and talk about how God makes our lives white as snow.
  • Make candy cane cookies and talk about how Jesus is like a shepherd.
  • Your kids will love this one… celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6.  Have your kids line up their shoes the night before so you can fill them with treats to discover the next morning.
  • Watch Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer together and talk about how God gifts each of us with special talents to use to help others.
  • What gifts do you have?  What gifts can you give?  Try to shift the gimme gimme focus to a more giving spirit by baking bread or a holiday treat to share with neighbors, or just spend time visiting someone who doesn’t get out much.

The season of Advent is not meant to be “one more thing to do” in this busy time of year.  Instead, allow a few moments each day to truly experience the anticipation of Christmas.  Wait in wonder with your family.  Prepare your hearts for Christmas joy.  It works for me!

This just in: quite contrary to the negative statements I’ve overheard lately, following is part of a conversation my three year old Christmas-ready boy had with his dental nurse this afternoon.

Nurse:  “Are you excited for Christmas?”

My Boy:  “Yep.”

Nurse:  “Santa is coming, isn’t he?”

My Boy:  “Yep.  And so is Jesus.”

I love my boy!

If you are celebrating advent, I’d love to learn from you.  Please share what you are doing!

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Comments

  1. I am passing along a Lemonade bloggers award, for a blog that shows “attitude or gratitude”. Please see the award here.

  2. I love your ideas.
    By the way, I remember commenting on your “tiny town” post that we might be moving to a small town too – and we are! We’re moving in a matter of weeks. Well, technically our “tiny town” is still about 129,000! So maybe it’s not technically tiny, but then again we’re moving from Toronto (5.5 million people) so it feels tiny to us! We cannot wait to move!
    Take care!

  3. I love all these great ideas!!!!

  4. Amen! We have celebrated Advent the last two years but this year we’re adding an Advent calendar of envelopes and each night has something new for us to do as a family. Whether it is praying for our Compassion children or baking Christmas cupcakes, we’re looking forward to using this time to celebrate this season as a family! (It’s actually so much more fun that the chocolate candy version, too!)

    Thanks for the inspiring post!

  5. Amy,

    I love your blog and totally agree about the need to savor Advent. It is such a special time this year, this time for preparation.

    I have three little boys (3.5 twins and a 5 yo). I wanted to share this advent activity we are doing.

    I drew a big paper Christmas tree (just a plain green tree) and put it up on the wall. Then we printed out and cut out some clip art of presents and ornaments.

    We teach the kids that when they do something that would make Jesus happy (practice the fruits of the Holy Spirit – Kindness, Patience, Gentleness, Self-Control, etc.) then they can put a present up under the tree or an ornament on the tree as a “Present for Jesus”.

    By the end of Advent, Jesus should have a ton of presents from the kids and it really helps them to focus on what the season is all about.

  6. I’m going to get out my advent wreath right now–thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Great ideas! :D I’m going to try to incorporate some before we leave on CHRISTmas vacation.

  8. If you can find some of those chocolate coins wrapped in foil, they would be a fun way to celebrate St. Nicholas’s feast day. Then you could tell this story:

    There were 3 young ladies in Nicholas’s town who were unable to marry because the father could not afford their dowry. Nicholas knew the father was a proud man, who would never ask for help. So he came up with a secret way to get money to the girls, and no one would ever know where it came from. He put some coins into each of 3 bags, then tossed them up to the chimney. The father and his daughters found the bags of coins, and at last the girls had the dowry they needed to marry!
    It is believed the legend of Santa coming down the chimney started with this story. I think it’s a cute one, and the kids sure do like those chocolate coins, LOL!

  9. “And so is Jesus.” That warmed my heart!

  10. Thanks for sharing those great ideas! You have given me some more ideas to do with my kids as we approach Christmas day. I am not celebrating advent persay by using a guide or calendar but we are taking a break from our usual school schedule to do fun things everyday and to think about what the true meaning of Christmas is all about. :)

    I love your boy’s conversation with the nurse! :) That would be something one of mine would say too. :)

  11. Great post! It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking of Christmas as one day with a busy season before it, so it’s a great reminder to savor the season of Advent. I really loved last year when I had all of my shopping done prior to the first day of Advent — purposefully to make sure I could just slow down and enjoy Advent.

  12. Very good ideas.

  13. Great post! Advent is a time for us to get our hearts ready for Jesus. We have an advent calendar filled with candy. I actually cross stitched it the year I was married. One piece of candy is pinned to each day. The kids have to take turns getting the candy off that night. Lots of great sharing lessons are learned on that one!!

  14. I carry on a Christmas tradition my mom started with my brother and I. My husband, children, and I make a zillion rosettes (a Norwegian [?] cookie that’s made with a very thin batter, and deep-fried on shaped irons) a couple weeks before Christmas and arrange them on disposable ‘festive’ plates, which we cover with saran, and add a note wishing the receiver God’s blessings and a Merry Christmas from our family. We take the plates around to our neighbors (we live rurally and rarely see them, as they’re a distance away), to the family we get produce from in the summer, leave one for the mailman, etc.

    Some years my mom would do homemade bread instead of cookies … I think it’s just the realization for people that you thought of them, and loved them enough to make something specific for them. We always feel so Christmas spirit-y afterwards!

    Really neat ideas you have in this post!

  15. What a sweet story! I love when the attention is on the birth of Jesus at Christmas!

    Thanks for the great ideas you gave, we will definitely be trying the candy cane cookies!

    You asked how we were celebrating Advent, and we are choosing one traditional Christmas symbol each day and learning about it’s origin and relationship to the Christmas story. I’m also trying to incorporate a craft or activity for it as well.

    I have been doing an Advent series on my blog. Check it out if you’d like!

    It’s so nice to slow down and enjoy the Christmas season for a change!

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