We have decorated the house. Been listening to Christmas music in the car, and have piled on the sofa to eat popcorn and watch Hallmark movies…or Home Alone.
Hannah’s been rehearsing for her fourth Nutcracker performance and the fourth grade Christmas musical next week and Joseph continues to add to our light display in the front yard (hopefully you’ve gotten the joy of seeing this on my Instagram stories).
We’ve sent out our Christmas cards and started buying gifts. The Christmas rush of to-do’s has begun…
All this is festive and fun, but it’s easy to get carried away in the season without really thinking about the reason.
Advent. The season of preparation as we await the birth of our Savior. I follow the above account on Instagram and I loved this post. With it, the writer posed the question: Why?
Why do we celebrate Christmas? Why do we partake in Advent?
Advent is about feeling the weight and need for Christ to have been born in human flesh to save us from our sins. It’s about slowing down to savor His goodness amidst a world of things and messages that vie for our attention. Advent is about treasuring Jesus above all other things.
I love that. Slowing down and savoring His goodness. How well do we do that? How often do we think about inviting Jesus into the season with us…the season that is all about and because of HIM?
At our house, we have incorporated a few traditions that both redirect our focus (and reorder our priorities!) and draw us closer to Jesus this busy time of year.
One of our favorite traditions is lighting our Advent wreath. We’ve had this wreath for a long time (as you can tell with the wax drippings and broken pine cones) and it has become a really special part of our Christmas preparations.
As I included in my Instagram post:
Before you side-eye the preacher’s wife…I know that an Advent wreath is supposed to have one pink and three purple candles. But, this year I decided to use what we already had, which was several pink apparently! As long as we stick to the meaning of the candles – Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace – and the #reasonfortheseason we’re good, am I right? Had to convince Hannah…
Several years ago, we were gifted this Advent Storybook. It is about a little bear’s journey to Bethlehem and is comprised of 24 days of his adventures. Each day incorporates a lesson, applicable to us all.
We like to light our Advent wreath and read each night together. We always read a page in the storybook and then, depending on the time, we’ll read some of the books in our ever-growing Christmas collection.
It has taken over the ottoman. As in, there is nowhere to put your feet up.
This year we are also doing these Advent cards my mom gave us last year. I have tucked them into the little stockings on our big Advent calendar.
They include ideas in how to live out the themes of the weeks of Advent: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.
Year ago, I read Christmas Jars and was inspired to start one of our own. Do you know about this? We keep our jar out in plain sight and fill it through the year with spare change. Then, at Christmas, we give it away. (Although, I transfer it to a different jar. Our Christmas Jar has handprint angel wings painted by one of the kids and is very special.) It is so great!
We are also beginning to fill our Sparkle Box. And, if you have kids and haven’t read that one, you should now!
We really strive to make the Christmas season about so much more than the hustle and bustle it can easily become. I want my kids to grow up having fun cookie-baking, movie-watching, Santa Claus-y memories, and love the Christmas season as much as their parents. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. But I also want them to treasure the sacred and special family traditions, centered around the baby in the manger – the whole purpose for it all. The ultimate Christmas gift.
I want them to understand the WHY.
What about you? Do you have any Advent traditions? How do you incorporate the true meaning of Christmas in your preparations and in celebrating the season? I’m always up for ideas!
One more thing…
Each year I like to do some Christmas reading on my own, whether it’s a devotional or a book. The last couple years I’ve done both. A few of my favorites are Christmas Jars (as mentioned above), Loving My Actual Christmas, The Journey, and Rick Warren’s The Purpose of Christmas. Right now I am reading Because of Bethlehem by Max Lucado and really like it. Send any recommendations my way!