We are currently in the season of Advent. If you don’t know what that is, it is simply a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. That expectation is what makes the waiting exciting. That expectation is what keeps our focus on Christ in the midst of a long season of busyness, parties, and a million Christmas activities.
Advent is important simply because we are human and sinful and easily distracted. Being intentional during the Christmas season to point your heart towards the Lord, reflect on what it means that Jesus came to earth, and ask the Lord to help you know and understand the significance of Christmas in a deeper way is one of the most important things you can do over Christmas.
BUT, my kids hate it. I mean deep down dread Advent. When asked the one thing they don’t like about our family traditions for Christmas, they ALL said “please don’t make us do the Advent devotionals this year!”
After I wiped the tears from my eyes because I LOVE our Advent traditions, we threw out the devotionals and instead we are focusing on the following.
Three Things We are Doing to Prepare our Hearts to Celebrate Christ this Season
First, we are replacing all media/books we consume with Christian literature and movies that will point us to Christ and not just entertain us. This one is tricky because I didn’t want myself or my family to feel like Christmas was punishment, so instead of taking away the things we all enjoy, I simply changed the content we were consuming. For example, instead of just playing games on the kindles, the kids are using Minecraft on their kindles to build villages and worlds that tell whatever Bible story we are discussing. They have to get extremely detailed as they build which leads to questions like, “what was the floor made of in the barn Jesus’ was born?” “How big exactly would Goliath be and what would a slingshot during this time period be made out of?” I was a little skeptical they could use Minecraft to point their hearts toward Christ, but kids are creative and the conversations have been fascinating! Pureflix makes finding Christian movies easier, but finding good Christian books for the kids to read that aren’t too old or too young has been challenging. We will gladly take suggestions!
Second, we are memorizing 25 attributes of God. During this season, our hearts, minds, and conversations need to find a way to naturally talk, discuss, and meditate on why Christ coming to earth is such a big deal or else we will simply forget about Christ until Christmas morning. We picked the attributes of God to enable us to have a deeper comprehension of God. Knowing God more will help us love Him more and hopefully create a significant realization of why Jesus being Emmanuel, God with us, is such a breathtaking thing to celebrate. Some days these attributes don’t create a huge conversation with my kids. But some days they really do have examples of how God was holy during the day or invisible or a protector or loving or whatever attribute we are discussing.
Third, I’ve had to let go of my image of the perfect Advent season. The end goal with my kids is for them to love the Lord and know how to pursue a relationship with Him without my help. As they have gotten older, I’ve realized that I’ve needed to let go of the deep belief that how I learn to follow the Lord is how everyone should learn. I’ve had to let go of the pop Christian culture pressure to do Christmas a certain way and then your family will love God. I’ve had to let go of the fear in my heart of not shepherding my kids the correct way. And in letting go, I’ve discovered I pray more, I listen and follow the leading of the Spirit more, and I stress less.
Advent is a season of expectant waiting. It doesn’t necessarily matter how you wait with expectation, but it truly is important that in some way, you force yourself and your heart to engage with the birth of Christ in a new way this year. Ask the Lord to help you figure out what it means for you to wait with expectation for the birth of Christ. And if you need some help, I’ve listed a few of our favorites from year’s past below.
Happy Advent season!
Truth in the Tinsel (preschool Advent book)
Jesus Storybook Advent Study (free printable)
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie