Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Each year since Maren's birth I have worked to create the traditions that will be remembered as part of our family Christmas season. Each year we change it up a little, and revise things we may have done before. We have made cookies, posed for pictures, visited Santa, and decorated Christmas tree ornaments.

This year we are again using a tradition that has always had a part, but which gets revised every year: Advent. It seems Advent is different things to different people. To the best of my understanding, it is a tradition that helps us prepare our minds and hearts to focus on the central part of Christmas, Jesus.

Last year we made an Advent wreath as a family craft project. I am quite proud of that wreath, because it incorporates my choice and placement of items with Justin's artistic approval, and craftsmanship of thoroughly anchoring each piece so the wreath could withstand a nuclear blast. I believe and hope that we will use this wreath for years to come.

We started on December 1. Family candle time, as we have started to call it, only lasts a few minutes but I think the kids have really latched onto it this year. We start out by lighting the candle and singing a Christmas carol. The kids take turns opening a window on our Advent calendar that gives a phrase of the Christmas story each day and shows a picture of a precious little animal underneath. I have an Advent book that uses each day to show how all of Creation and history leads up to the coming of Jesus; I read through that devotional entry then lead us in a short prayer. At the end, we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and the kids take turns blowing out the candle.

It may very well be that the candle and the windows on the Advent calendar are all the kids will remember about this time. But the focus of the candle gives life to a very special moment when our family comes together and talks about Jesus together.

We have not yet begun to incorporate devotions into our daily life. But I believe this season of Advent may be just the thing to create a habit we can continue into the coming year.

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