How Our Family Does Advent

I love this time of year. Just a couple of weeks ago as we walked into Magic Kingdom, it was completely decked out for Christmas. Christmas music was playing, and it was one of my favorites, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”. It struck me, because every year I’m astounded. Everyone is declaring God’s greatness this time of year whether they know it or not. Think about it. Think about the majority of Christmas music. You cannot get around hearing about Jesus. This is an extra special time where you can seize so many moments just while you are out living life with your family. There are tons of resources out there for Advent. Churches give resources, Jesus Storybook Bible gives resources, there’s the Jesse Tree, you get the picture. To be honest, we have done something different every year.

Last year we simply read through the Jesus Storybook Bible plan which was great, but we read out of that bible every night, so there was much “set apart” for Kai during Advent. I really wanted this year to be different. I really wanted Kai to understand why this season is special, why this season is different, why this season should truly be celebrated. And here’s the deal, we like to have fun in our family. We are not those people who are like Jesus is the reason for the season and everything else is evil! No no. We LOVE to go look at Christmas lights. We love to watch Christmas movies. We love to give and get gifts. We love to go and do all those fun things. When we were first talking about growing our family, it was important to both of us that things of Jesus and our lives were not separate. And we also wanted our kids to see that Jesus is fun because He created enjoyment! So, as we enjoy those Christmas things, I wanted to be able to tie in what we were talking about in Advent so Kai can see, all these fun things are just a reminder of who Jesus is. So I thought about what we liked to do, the character of God, and how we can tie those things in daily. So without further ado, this is the plan I came up with.

  1. We have this cute Advent wall calendar (dinosaurs not included, they just hopped in there during Dinovember one night…silly dinos). There’s little pockets and Kai is obsessed with candy canes right now (I don’t know why, I’m just rolling with it). So, there’s a candy cane in each pocket. Each morning he comes out, grabs a candy cane, we put Christmas Spirit in the diffuser, light our Advent candles, and sit together on the couch to read the story of the day that goes with the theme of the week while he eats a candy cane. IMG_0693
  2. These are the character traits I wanted to point out that I know also tie into fun things we like to do, and planned the stories accordingly. I tell him the main point, like “Jesus is the Light”, we read the story, and then I just simply ask him a couple of review questions or let him ask me questions. It’s no more than a 5 minute thing because he’s 4. The point is it is then my job throughout the day/week as we are going along in life to point things back to Jesus. So if we are enjoying Christmas lights, that’s as simple as me saying “Hey Kai, who is the Light? Who created Light? Isn’t it cool that we get to do fun things like look at Christmas lights and be reminded who created light?” That’s it. Keep it simple. We use the Jesus Storybook Bible, it’s our favorite. The titles are italicized. Some of the stories I wanted to go over aren’t in there, so I’ll just read the Scripture accordingly.

Jesus is the Light

Creation- The beginning: a perfect home

The Star- The King of all kings

Angels & The Shepherds-The Light of the whole world

Saul becomes Paul- A new way to see

Jesus is the Word

Creation- The beginning: a perfect home

Jesus calms the storm- Captain of the storm

Jesus is the Hope of the World

The Garden- The terrible lie

Prophecies of Isaiah- Operation “No More Tears” 

Elizabeth: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80

Mary: Luke 1:26-56

Simeon & Anna: Luke 2:22-38

The Tree, a Firm Foundation

The Garden- The terrible lie

The Manger- The Light of the whole world

The Cross- The sun stops shining

Jesus is the Message

Abraham- Son of Laughter

Elizabeth-  Luke 1:5-25, 57-80

Mary- Luke 1:26-56

Isaiah- Operation “No More Tears” 

Shepherds- The Light of the whole world

John the Baptist- Heaven breaks through

Pentecost: God Sends Help

Jesus is Coming Again

Resurrection- God’s wonderful surprise

Ascension- Going home

The Second Coming- A dream of heaven

You can see there are stories that get repeated, and I did that on purpose for 2 reasons. 1, because he’s a preschooler. The way kids learn is through repetition. 2, I wanted him to see the connections, how the bible works as a whole. How these stories aren’t just separate things that happen, they all work together, across space and time to point to the same thing: The person and work of Jesus. I want him to learn now that Scripture is alive and well, and you can and will always find new things you missed before, how you see things with fresh eyes in different seasons of your life, how your soul needs that repetition and refreshment all the time.

I know as our family grows and our season of life changes, Advent will look different. That’s why we don’t have a set thing each year, we always want to look at where we are, look at where we want to go, and plan accordingly. We also want to look at our family, at our kids and ask, “where do they need some encouragement?” For our little boy right now, he is processing his own story. Many of the stories I chose, I know will give him hope. He’s also been praying for a baby brother and baby sister for a solid year now, so I chose stories like Elizabeth and Simeon and Anna, who waited so long but their long awaited hope was answered.  I know I can tie in those things to his own story and we can process how Jesus has been with him all along, and He is with our family, in charge of our family, and growing our family.  He has always had a plan for him and a plan for us.

So however your family does Advent, I hope and pray it is a season of deep hope and encouragement for you. I hope that this time overflows into the new year, that it’s not something you just focus on one time of year as a family, but you find ways all year long to weave in earthly things that all of you enjoy and can point them back to the One who created good things.

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