My blogging has been spotty for the past couple of weeks due to the fact that we have now finished both of our family "Christmases." The Strode fam celebrated over Thanksgiving week, and we did the Parks family this past weekend. So it's all over. And I have to be honest--I'm kind of thrilled. Erik sometimes calls me Scrooge when December rolls around. I mean, I get excited and we do fun things, but generally by the time December 20th comes around I am sick of it all and ready for January. I think it's just the stress of doing it all, and figuring out how to reconcile all the commercialism with what we really want our kids to understand about the season.
Last year we had six family Christmases, which meant six times to open presents, which naturally made for a pretty greedy, materially-focused four-year-old. We decided we just couldn't do that again. So I'm so happy things worked out this way for this year. Now that the gift-giving is (primarily) over, we can sit back and enjoy Advent.
My friend and former college professor, John Stonestreet, wrote a great article about Advent here. I'm learning the joy of expectation and anticipation, and I want my kids to see that too--not anticipation for presents, but for Christ.
A couple of other great Advent resources are:
Ann Voskamp's Advent Jesse Tree Devotional and Ornaments - This is a free download of an Advent devotional. Technically it started on Nov. 29, but we are catching up as we were gone over the weekend. Last year I made all the ornaments with ShrinkyDinks and now the kids (well, Sophie really) enjoy listening to the devotionals and guessing what the ornament will be.
Jesus Storybook Bible - This great Bible storybook has 24 stories leading up to the birth of Christ--perfect for Advent. And, it's just as encouraging (probably more-so) to my heart as it is for the kids.
CBC Advent Devotional - My church is putting out a weekly Advent devotional, with readings for each day. You can download the PDF from the website--just look for the image that says "What Child is This?"
Desiring Virtue Christ-Centered Christmas Series - This is a great blog series on ways to help your family worship Christ and understand Advent.
No matter your age, marital status, or family size, many of the resources can be a benefit in enabling us to wait in expectation for Christ--not just to celebrate the Incarnation, but to wait for His return.
Obviously this post has nothing to do with weddings, but I wanted to take a little break this week and write about something else. Let me know what resources you use in observing Advent!
*All images used were taken from the linked websites and are property of the individual website owners.