We are currently in the season of Advent. Advent is simply a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. That expectation is what makes the waiting exciting. It 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 Advent Season
First, we are going through the book Mary: Seeing God through the Eyes of a Mother by Eugene Peterson.
The kids have been pretty honest about their lack of excitement for simple devotionals. Being pastor’s kids, they are professional sermon listeners and devotional critiquers. I have to work hard to engage their hearts and let them experience God in new ways and not be numb or put God in the “job” category. This book has been a great but different way to engage their hearts this Christmas.
Second, we are coloring our way through the Psalms and advent verses.
To keep our attention on Christ, we spend our evenings coloring various Bible verses and Bible stories to help keep us focused on the story of Christ. Coloring seems to be soothing and allows us to have normal conversation about our book. The kids are old enough and been around the block enough to know the “right” answer. Somehow, these coloring books have allowed a relaxed atmosphere that lets us simply talk about the things of God and not worry about the “right” answers.
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
You Might Also Enjoy:
- What to Do When Your Child Starts To Question God
- 1 Simple Way to Teach Your Child To Pray
- The Best Parenting Advice for Young Kids I Ever Received
Want Advent Lock Screens for Your Phone this season?