In my family growing up we had a lot of traditions for different parts of the year and when I had kids I wanted to carry on some of those traditions as well as start some new ones. One of the new ones we started were Advent Family Devotions. It has been something as a family we look forward to each year and really allows us to keep the focus on Jesus, not the presents or the food or shopping or even family matters.
Advent family devotions can be done a number of ways. This is what we do...
Starting the Sunday after Thanksgiving we begin. For our family it works as an after dinner event. We use this book and we used to use this wreath that I made:
(side note - we used this wreath for a couple of years and after storing it and getting out it started looking pretty shabby. It was great while it lasted but we have moved on to a more simple wreath. This is Corbin when he was 3 years old so excited to blow out the candles.)
With this book you can do devotions once a week - one representing each of the four smaller candles and then the Christmas day devotion. You can also choose to do one every night - one week spent per candle and the Christmas day devotion. We usually do the nightly one but through out the month we do miss some during the week. It is inevitable. I accept this now - where before I used to be like a drill sergeant. "We WILL do every night and if we miss we WILL make it up!" Wow how fun does that sound? Just keepin it real. I have grown...
Each candle represents something having to do with the Christmas story.
Week one (candle one) Prophecy
Week Two (candle two) Bethlehem
Week Three (candle three)Praise
Week four (candle four) Jesus
Christmas day (Christmas candle)
The kids (Corbin up to this point) love to help light the candles and blow them out. We read the story, verses and devotional each night and then at the end we pick a Christmas Carol (they are at the back of the book) to sing. This is a tradition I thoroughly look forward to every Christmas season. It brings our family together most every night and gets us on the same page thinking about the same things. I think as the kids get older it they will take away different things from each devotion. I know for Steve and I each time we finish an advent family devotion we are taken out of the hustle and bustle of the commercialized season and put back into reflecting on the Lord, His plan and purpose, and his amazing life.
This year I was a bit sad because the majority of our things are still packed away and not accessible. Including our Advent devotional book. I have asked people if they had one I could borrow and had no luck in finding one. I thought either I am going to have to make it up or just go without. The thought of going without depressed me! Praise God, I remembered the name of the woman who created this book (Marilyn Williams) and looked her up on good ole' google. She had a website and lo and behold I was able to download the book! For $7! What a blessing. We will still be able to have this time of connection this year.
I would encourage you, if you are looking for something for the season with a deeper meaning and fulfilling time then try the Advent Family Devotions. I think this book that I use (link at the top) is the best one our there (personally.) I haven't seen anything like it even in the Christian book stores.
Let's focus on why we even have Christmas this year and not get distracted by all the distractions.