Celebrate Advent

With Christmas quickly approaching, some people might find themselves caught up in the frantic nature of the holiday season and longing for a way to better prepare their hearts for the true wonder of Christmas ~ God’s gift to the world through the person of Jesus Christ. However, as Christians we have the choice to embrace the season of Advent which is a time of preparation and waiting which can make our hearts ready to fully embrace Christmas.

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Ways to Celebrate Advent ~ Advent Wreaths

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this is a time of increasing darkness as we approach the shortest day of the year (winter solstice) on December 21st. With Jesus being the Light of the World, how fitting it is to light the candles of an Advent wreath to mark the days until Christmas arrives. While traditional wreaths have 3 purple candles and 1 rose candle, I have used white ones in a pinch. Each week has another candle lit with a time for prayer and reflection. Our family lights the candle(s) each night at dinner time with a short Scripture reading or reflection and prayer.

Sometimes I will pull from an Advent Devotional for the family devotion with the Advent wreath. It all depends upon the age of the boys at the time.

Ways to Celebrate Advent ~Advent Calendars

Advent Calendars are quite popular and available in religious and secular formats. These calendars really count down the days until Christmas starting with December 1st rather than the First Sunday of Advent which can be in November. My boys loved having a LEGO Star Wars Advent calendar last year as it meant new pieces for their collection. However, I am sure they’d be almost as thrilled with a chocolate calendar as well. We had the opening of each day’s box done when dinner was finished so that the whole family was together.

Ways to Celebrate Advent ~ Holy Heroes: Advent Adventures

A wonderful online resource to do with your younger kids is Holy Heroes: Advent Adventures. After registering, you will receive an email each Monday through Saturday through Christmas Eve. The link in the email brings you to that day’s page with a few videos for the day covering information about Advent as well as the Jesse Tree. Other items for the day include activity sheets (crosswords and coloring pages) as well as some downloads to help enrich your family’s celebration of Advent.

While this is a Catholic family’s outreach, I have talked to many Protestant friends who love this resource and just set aside anything their faith does not embrace.

Ways to Celebrate Advent ~ St. Nicholas Day

Santa Claus is a huge draw for kids. Why not spend some time helping them learn more about the man behind the myth? St. Nicholas of Myra was one interesting individual. You can find some great kid friendly resources on St. Nicholas or dig a little deeper for the older kids and adults to learn more about him.

My best word of advice for celebrating Advent is to NOT overwhelm yourself! The boys longing ask to do the tradition of putting out shoes for St. Nicholas Day, however I know that I can’t manage to add one more thing during a busy season. As long as whatever activity we undertake helps to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, I am happy to keep it at a minimal level.

laura oneillLaura is mom to four boys, three of whom are homeschooled. She shares about their lives in Alaska on Day by Day in Our World.

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