I started jotting down some ideas early this year because Christmastime always comes and goes faster than I can get my head around, especially as a tired mom to little kids! I really want to be intentional about teaching our kids why we bake Christmas cookies, go caroling (do you still do that? I love that part of Christmas!), have parties, wear our Christmas jammies, decorate our house and tree, wrap and gift presents and why there is such a sense of excitement and expectation in the air. It's because Christ the Lord is coming! We're getting ready for Him and preparing our homes and our hearts for Him. I know my kids are so little and the meaning behind most things is still over their heads, but they always understand more than I think they do. Let's keep this honest though.. There will be plenty of days that I totally crash and fail at this, especially after sleepless nights (like today), but Cam and I are excited to teach them what Christmas means! Here's a few fun and practical ways we're hoping to do that:
Advent calendar with a treat and verse each day. I made the verse cards the first year we were in Okinawa so all I needed to do was stuff each pocket with a chocolate for my sweet tooth toddler who loves chocolate (I have no idea where he gets that from???) and some little toys here and there. Cam reads the verse outloud and John Shea devours his sweet. He hangs out by the Advent calendar like a puppy dog, hoping we'll open more than just one a day, ha. My mom brain can't remember where I originally found the list for Advent scriptures, but here is another one.
Watching one of our favorite Christmas movies, The Nativity Story, while snuggled up in jammies with popcorn. This is already one of me and Cam's traditions since we got married. Also, we love love White Christmas! And have you ever seen The Star of Bethlehem? Challenges my faith every year I watch it.
Reading little bits of the Christmas Story from John Shea's book before bedtime
Baking Christmas cookies for our Croatian neighbors and giving my babes a super simple explanation about sharing the Christmas spirit. We live in a fallen world, and I want them to eventually understand how Christ coming is the comfort and the peace and the joy and the solution to that, how He is the comfort and the peace and the joy and the solution to every problem, every heartache, every sin, for all of us. That is the Christmas spirit. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
Cam reading Luke 2 outloud Christmas morning like his Dad did
And then of course there's blasting Christmas music and having a living room dance party.
One year in high school my parents had each of us four kids take turns around the table reading outloud through an Advent book during dinnertime. I remember what an impact that had on me as a teenager to take part in something as a family and hear my brothers and parents read.
Blackberry Cobbler for the start of Advent, thanks Mama.
Cam just started using this devotional with Advent readings and said it's great.