Do you hear that? It’s the sound of me letting out my breath with a great big sigh of RELIEF.
Remember when I said that my secret to a Stress-free December was November? Well, let’s just say that I think I’ve squeeeeezed just about as much stress out of November as possible. There’s not a drop left.
This girl’s brain is tired.
And I am longing for some peace on earth and a foot rub – know what I mean?
But that’s just another reason that I love December. While the world is hustling and bustling and shouting “Do this! Buy that!” our family pauses to take a rest from the busy-ness and ponder Advent – the longing for the coming, the arrival of peace and joy in this world.
It wasn’t always like this though.
For years, I struggled to pinpoint the best way to celebrate the Advent season with my boys. We enjoyed counting down to Christmas with daily activities, and had created some fun Christmas traditions along the way.
But the celebration of Jesus’ Birth – the Reason why I celebrate this Season – often became overshadowed by all the activity and chaos, rather than celebrated and honored.
And then there was last Christmas.
I splurged on Ann Voskamp’s Advent Wreath last year. I’d been eyeing for quite some time. If this isn’t in the budget, a simple candle is a lovely addition to nightly reading.
Celebrating Advent with the Jesus Storybook Bible
I don’t even remember who it was – but someone mentioned to me that they use The Jesus Storybook Bible as their Advent reading each night. We LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible. Its beautiful full color pages and engaging telling of the story of Jesus throughout the Bible never gets old. So this sounded intriguing to me, but I didn’t understand how it corresponded with Advent.
And then I read this post that pointed out the fact that there are exactly 24 stories from the beginning of the Bible to the celebration of Jesus’ birth – twenty one stories presented from the Old Testament (which “whisper Jesus name”) and then the Christmas story is presented in three stories.
24 stories = 24 readings = 24 nights that our family celebrates Advent together before the celebration of Christmas Day.
I’m not sure if this was even intended by the author, but it’s brilliant either way.
And then it got even better.
My sister is delightful. And out of the goodness of her delightful heart, she took it upon herself to create clay ornaments for our ‘Jesse Tree’ that correspond with each of the stories we read each night with the boys. Each night one of the boys pulls out the ornament that is intended for that night’s story and hangs it on our “tree” (which for now is a piece of twine hanging on their wall with some clothespins.
Here is a picture of what she created:
Delightful, right? (Here are some instructions on how you could make something similar. I really should have my sister write a post about that, shouldn’t I??)
And that is how we celebrate Advent. It’s simple and meaningful and I love it.
At the end of a long day, when we pause, light our candle, gently pick out that day’s ornament and just listen to the story – it all comes together.
This is what it’s all about.
More Helpful Advent Resources:
My other sister (who is also delightful) writes a lovely and thought-provoking Advent series on her blog each year.Read it for more ideas and inspiration on how to honor the season of Advent.
Does your family celebrate Advent? I’d love to hear how!
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