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Making Advent Meaningful for the Whole Family

I hope you are enjoying a joyful start to this Christmas season. I wanted to share how our family is doing Advent this year. The holidays can tend to bring on stress, specially when it comes to creating experiences and memories for our kids. But this year I decided to keep our family Advent devotions simple, yet meaningful. I wanted to make sure we observed Advent in a way that didn’t add to my stress, but did exactly what Advent is supposed to do…prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

This year we are using two wonderful resources.

“Unwrapping the Greatest Gift” by Ann Voskamp.

We’ve had this book for several years now, and we love it. The writing and illustrations are beautiful and just what my soul needs--my kids enjoy it too. Really though, I often end in tears after reading it.

Details: There is a daily scripture reading, a devotional with gorgeous illustrations, followed by “thoughts to discuss” and “family activities.” I like how this resource can be used in many ways. You could even implement the use of a Jesse Tree and print out ornaments to hang daily. With the start of Donum Dei I’ve allowed myself to keep it simple this year, and opted out of the Jesse Tree.

How we do it: Our family reads the scripture and devotion. We look inward and consider the thoughts to discuss. Then we do the activity (which is always very simple and outward focused, very doable without much planning involved). Confession time: we haven’t done it every day. What?!!? I know - it’s okay. When we do it, it’s a beautiful time. We turn our hearts towards God and it reminds us who we are waiting for--our King and Savior. I highly recommend this book, and I highly recommend giving yourself grace to do it when you can. Low stress.

“The Bible Project | Advent” on the YouVersion Bible App

This resource is new to our family, but we have been enjoying it so much I anticipate us going back to it next year.

Details: It is a four day devotional and Scripture reading following the traditional Advent themes of Peace, Hope, Joy and Love. The devotional is an amazing Bible Project video explaining the meaning of that week’s theme, followed by a handful of scripture verses to support it. Our family loves the Bible Project videos because they are filled with theological truths presented in a way our children can understand and enjoy.

How we do it: After our big Sunday meal we light the Advent candle for that week, watch the video, and take turns reading the Bible verses. It’s been so impactful, yet so easy to do. Even my 5-year old has been referring back to the one on Peace throughout the week. It helps me know that God’s word and truth is taking root in his heart.

I hope these nuggets help you and yours prepare your hearts for the coming of Jesus. What a wonderful thing to celebrate, and what a gift to give our children, when we take the time to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas.

Would you share with me some ways your family is doing Advent this year? I’d love to know how you are enjoying this Christmas season.

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