Thursday, December 13, 2012

Of course I haven't been posting daily about our Advent adventures like I said I would.  Come on, did you really expect me to have time to sit daily and write stuff?  I have BOYS, for goodness sake!  Plus, Advent is supposed to be about slowing down, enjoying the view, smelling the roses (or the Christmas tree in my living room.  I LOVE the smell of my Christmas tree!).  So, I'm not even stressed about the fact that I told you all I'd update daily (stupid, stupid, stupid) about what we're doing for Advent.

Oh well.  You live, you learn.

By the way, I'm not doing Christmas cards either, this year.  Too stressful, and honestly, too expensive.  I might do them next year.  MAYBE.

Anyway, these are the things we've been up to:

For our Sunday Advent wreath lighting ceremony (anyone have a better name for that?), we've used our Little People nativity to act out the angel telling Mary that she is going to have a baby and is to name him Jesus, then used them to act out Mary and Joseph and the donkey heading to Bethlehem for the census.  We lit the first candle and talked about how it represents Promise.  The angel promised Mary that she would bear the Son of God.  We lit the second candle and talked about how it represents Love.  God so loved the world he gave his only son.  Mary and Joseph loved each other.  God loved Mary.  Mary and Joseph and God loved Jesus.  God loves all of us.  Jesus loves God (that was Ben's).  We love each other.  All good, good stuff.

Also, Scott has been learning Christmas carols to play on the guitar.  He plays while we all sing.  Well, Ben and I sing.  Caleb kind of hums and sways and it's cute but off-tune.  It's perfect.  After we sing, it's the boys' favorite part: cookies and egg nog!  This year they have cute little kid plates and mugs that Scott's parents sent for them.  Love it!

Every night they have been opening one wrapped Christmas book to read before bed.  I thought there were going to be lots of fights and tantrums over who got to open the book, but the boys have been amazingly wonderful about taking turns each night.  Must be the Christmas spirit.  Maybe, if I remember, I will make a list of the books we've read during Advent.  I won't make a promise this time, because, well, you know.

The Advent tree is going well, also.  The boys are still a little young to listen to the whole lesson each night, so we dumb it down a bit for them.  I need to make some kind of something to add to it, though, because the tiny stable scene just won't fit all 24 characters.

Finally the Advent calendar of good deeds.  It was exciting for the first week, but now it has lost its luster.  We've done quite a few good deeds, and I'm happy about that.  The ones I'm most happy about were the ones where the boys had gather first old toys then old books to donate.  Not only is my house that much less cluttered, but the boys actually were HAPPY to give their things away.  In fact, I had to turn a few things down because they were too precious for me to give away.  I think Ben and Caleb have much more generous hearts than their mama!

I love the Christmas spirit around this house.  I love that my boys are learning that the true meaning of Christmas isn't gifts and Santa and North Pole and reindeer.  I love that they know that we celebrate Christmas because God gave us the best and most perfect gift of all: his Son.  Yes, we have mentioned Santa a few times.  And yes, they really, really, reeeeeaaalllly want presents.  But I'm pretty sure they've got the big idea, and that's what matters most to me.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's Advent Time!!

Ah, Advent.  My favorite time of year.  I love all the little traditions we have started for our family to anticipate the coming of Christ.  While the shopping and baking and spending time with family and friends and visiting Santa at the mall and anticipating his arrival at our house is fun and definitely a big part of Christmas, none of these is the reason we celebrate it.  In order to avoid being swept up in all those activities and losing the true meaning of Christmas, our family has instituted ways to daily remember the precious gift God has given us.

Each morning, we pull a good deeds slip from our Advent Tree calendar.  I used to put little candies in each door, but my kids don't need more candy.  Then we would put little toys in each door, but the toys were junky and ended up getting lost or broken or thrown away.  What a waste of money.  This year, however, we are putting good deeds written on slips of paper in each door and the boys will get to learn what it means to give at Christmas time. 

Each evening, we do our felt Advent tree.  Each "ornament" has a nativity character inside, and the boys love to take out the characters and put them in the stable scene.  We read a short bit of scripture to go with each character and tell a little bit of the Christmas story as well.

Every Sunday night we light the advent wreath and have a little service where we read part of the Christmas story and some scripture.  The boys add parts of the Little People nativity each week until Christmas Eve, when we add baby Jesus.  Then we sing carols and eat cookies and egg nog. 


My goal is to blog every day about our Advent activities. This is for two reasons:
1. If I tell you I'm doing this, I'm held a little more accountable to actually doing it and to keeping Christ as the center of our Advent season.
2. Maybe you need some good ideas, too.  I can tell you that all my ideas have come from other blogs/Pinterest/Facebook.  I don't come up with this stuff on my own.  So, I am simply passing down ideas that I have gotten from other people.  Feel free to use any of it that you want.

Here we go!