I can’t remember what exactly got me thinking about the word “advent” – maybe it was the Star Wars Lego advent calendar I saw in the store, or the one filled with candy and decorated with pictures of Santa. Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those, but let’s call them “countdown to Christmas” calendars because they have nothing to do with advent! Celebrating advent adds such richness to the Christmas season. The word advent means “coming.” It’s choosing to anticipate the coming of Christ in a meaningful way.
One way to be intentional about celebrating advent is to do an advent tree, or Jesse tree, as they are also called. Last year, we got off to a good start, but fell behind with the tree part. The lessons are great even without the tree, but I wanted a visual to go with the lessons that we could stick with, and so I decided to do advent books this year.
We are using the devotions found in Disciplines of a Godly Family (this book is a great resource that I highly recommend!). I made some really basic books for the boys, and each day they draw the image that is supposed to go on the ornament of the day and write out the key verse while I read the lesson to them.
Today (Day 3), the lesson was about Noah and the flood, and the key verse was Romans 6:23. The devotions walk through creation, the fall, the promise of a Savior, the prophecies about the Messiah, and His birth. It’s a great way to look at the big picture of God’s redemptive plan.
I’m not planning to try to convince my children that the presents aren’t any fun – that would never happen! And it’s not that God does not want us to enjoy giving and receiving gifts. But I do think it’s important to be intentional about building anticipation over the coming of the Messiah – the promised Savior who paid the price of our sin (for the wages of sin is death – Romans 6:23) and made it possible for us to receive life instead.
How is your family celebrating Advent?