It's here, it's here, Advent is here!
Last year I bought this Advent calendar from Jessi at Naptime Diaries, and it sat in my dresser drawer gathering dust. We were gone for Christmas last year, didn't get a real tree, and I just didn't get to it. I'm okay with that.
But this year is different. Liv is old enough to know about Santa (and she does, somehow), which means she's old enough to know the Christmas story. So for the last few weeks, I've been poking around the interwebs, looking at resources and deciding what's best for our family.
In her Jesus Advent Celebration, Ann Voskamp reminds us that the word "advent" means "coming." And even though my kids are young, we want that to be our family's focus this year. (It isn't all about the kids. I want to celebrate Jesus' coming too.)
Ann's free family devotional looks pretty great for me, but a little over the wee one's heads this year. So I plan on checking in on it myself, and keeping it in my back pocket for down the road.
I'd seen a lot about a very kid friendly devotional called Truth in the Tinsel, so I bought it. From what I've flipped through, it looks like a great tool. Each day has a clue for kids to listen for in the corresponding scripture reading. After the reading, there's a craft (mostly ornaments, if not all) to emphasize the clue. She's got detailed craft supply lists and even breaks them down by day for early planning. I was really excited until I remembered that I'm not crafty and we have like, zero craft supplies. The author's kids were 5 and 3 when she wrote it, so again, down the road (somewhere between now and Ann Voskamp), this will be something to keep in mind. (If you're interested in purchasing, use this code and I'll get like, a dollar?) If you've done this before, let me know how you liked it!
I saw some posts by other bloggers today and looked at some of those too. One that caught my eye was at The Mom Diggity, which is an awesome blog name, right? She uses The Jesus Storybook Bible, which is hands down, my favorite kids bible. Most of these devotional plans start in the Old Testament and work to the actual birth of Jesus, and with The Jesus Storybook Bible, it's so easy because, as its subtitle says, "every story whispers his name." Each story ends with a few lines pointing to Jesus: the perfect gift, the true hero, the king of all kings. Her activity list and reading plan were both really helpful. Whereas I haven't had time to read through Truth in the Tinsel, I'm very familiar with The Jesus Storybook Bible, and so are my kids. So using this is perfect for us this year. I made a few changes, like reading the Christmas story from the 20th-25th, instead of just once. Repetition, repetition repetition, my friends.
When I looked at her activity list and wrote down what would translate into our lives, I came up a few days short. I looked at an old post by The Simple Mom, ended up glancing back at Naptime Diaries, and came up with a plan we're excited about. A plan we're willing to swap, change, and even bail on if it ends up distracting us rather than encouraging us.
Among other things, we'll be going to the gingerbread house display at the Grove Park Inn, stringing cheerios for a garland, skyping with family, and sipping hot (okay, warm) chocolate, all the while preparing our hearts in celebration of his coming.
What about you? Tips? Any other resources you recommend?
I know there are others, and I'm all ears.
Cross posted at