Jesus says in John 8: 12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” What better way to talk about how Jesus come to give us light then by lighting candles!
We had an advent wreath one year when we were living in an apartment. We happened to have no Christmas decorations with us, so we made our decorations that year. One of our favorites was the Advent Wreath. The advent wreath we made was a “flame-less wreath”. We used tubes for the candles and stuffed them with tissue paper that we pulled up when the candle was “lit”. We “lit” one candle a week, on Sunday, and each time we read scripture to go with the candle and talked about what the candle represented.
This year I asked my husband to make me a real advent candle, I’m thinking a birch log with holes drilled out for candles–something I will want to keep for years to come. He has assured me this is a fire risk and will not make it; we shall see… This year our advent wreath will accompany our family Christmas devotional we will be reading, Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration.
To get ideas to make your own advent wreath google “advent wreath diy”.
If you have been following along, over the past month I have been sharing several ideas that we do in my home during the Christmas season. I am sharing them early so you can pick what you want to do and get started planning. If you are like anyone else in the world, you know how easy it is to get overwhelmed, ESPECIALLY at Christmas!
There are hoards of recipes, parties, play dates, crafts, family gatherings, traditions etc. to plan, prepare, partake in, and clean up from. It is only a matter of time before you break down crying and start praying for January 2nd. If you are hoping to implement some new spiritually based (or anything else) Christmas traditions this year, don’t go overboard and wear yourself out. Start small. Pick 1 thing this year, next year pick another thing to add on. Before you know it you will have your Christmas traditions whipped into place and look forward to the holiday season!
Spend some time thinking about your traditions, ask your children what they remember about Christmas, ask your husband what is important to him. Our purpose here on earth is to live in relationship, healthy relationships with Christ and with others, sharing Jesus’ love and power. This purpose is the same at Christmas, Easter, and Independence day. If cooking is important to you and your relationships, then great, do it. If not it does not help, but hinder your relationships, if you are trying to have the perfect meal, the perfect gifts, the perfect crafts, the perfect advent, the perfect…. consider why you feel these are important traditions. Do you need to shift your holiday traditions? Do you need to keep it simpler to have time for your real purpose? Traditions should help us teach our children what we consider important. Do your traditions do this?
Last year for the first time we had a “thankful tree”. We made it at a November mops meeting and it was fun to use at home. There are a lot of options for how to use the tree. Here are some ideas:
- Use chalkboard signs as name cards for thanksgiving dinner, have everyone write something they are thankful for on the back, hang on the tree
- Throughout the month of November have family members write what they are thankful for
- Write family members and friends names on the chalkboards hang on tree, at every meal time have everyone pick one name off the tree to pray for (our rule is you have to pick someone new every time)
Last year I borrowed a cute little Christmas devotional from my mentor that had a daily devotion and activity. I loved it, but it was out of print so I was unable to purchase my own copy. This year we are trying a new family devotional, I am so excited!!!
If you already have a Christmas devotional and don’t use it, try this year to make it a tradition. Keep it short and simple enough to do at dinner or immediately following so that daddy can join in.
The devotional we will be doing this year is Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration. This book has a lot included, so if you have an extremely busy holiday season, start by doing just a little and go from there. In the book there are 4 worship experiences laid out for each of the 4 Sundays of advent, there are also scripture readings for every day during advent. The book includes directions for making an advent wreath to go along with the devotions if desired.
Our family is excited about trying this devotional out as a family this year. I hope it will be another thing to help us focus on who Christ is and create fond family memories.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful season to build the skill of gratitude in your children and yourself. One tradition we have done for several years now is our Thankful Jar.
Around November 1st the Thankful jar sits out on our table or side table along with several slips of paper and a pen. At meal time (usually dinner so daddy can join us) we write something we are thankful for on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Throughout the day on Thanksgiving we pull out and read what we were thankful for. Reading the thankful entries would also be a great car-ride trip.
In past years our children usually put daddy on every paper, every day, but as they get older and listen to what we write and what we are thankful for, they are starting to branch out and understand what it means to thank God for everything.
Searching for the gift of salvation is a fun Christmas tradition we started last year. After decorating the Christmas tree we wrapped a small box and decorated it with ribbon so it could be hung on the Christmas tree. We planned to “hide” the gift somewhere on the Christmas tree, but our children are all small and we felt the tree was too tall for them to search for the ornament, we therefore hid the gift somewhere in the house.
A member of the family started by hiding the gift somewhere in the house. When another member found the gift they hid it again for another person to find. This was a fun tradition and kept going until Christmas. We talked about how the small gift represented the gift of salvation that came through baby Jesus, when we seek Jesus he says we shall find him (Matthew 7:7). Instead of using a gift as your ornament to seek and find, your family could use for the present ornament is a baby Jesus ornament.
We love reading in our home, what better way to share time, learn and grow and pass on knowledge and traditions. Reading together means creating memories and growing in relationship. Today I want to share with you some of our Thanksgiving books we read.
One of our favorites that has a wonderful Christian message of hope and purpose is Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving. This book is great for the younger audience, but can be a little long. Sometimes we read it in sections.
A book that we plan on reading 1 page from for 14 days of November is The Pilgrims at Plymouth (Landmark Books). This book goes into detail about the voyage on the mayflower and settling in the new land, with great pictures. Continue reading