Thursday, December 1, 2016
Our Advent Plans
It's December first and I'm full of expectation. I sit here listening to Austin Stone's A Day of Glory Christmas album and diffusing pine and blue spruce, as I think back to a year ago this month when I first came to Flagler with Brandon for his interview.
Here we are a year later, having put up our Christmas tree in the parsonage we now call home.
There is so much to look forward to, as with every start of the holiday season. I feel like this is the first year our three year old daughter will really "get it" in terms of retelling the story of Jesus' birth. It has been so fun to watch her excitement when the timer on the Christmas tree clicks on in the afternoons and when we do a craft (similar to this one).
I had fun planning our family Advent activities and was tempted to "do all the things." But who can? Even with a fairly open schedule (only one kid in (pre) school), I know it is best to keep it simple and have been cautioned against overdoing it by more than one mom who has already been there (via articles like this). We also live in a rural town, so there are not as many nearby options for some activities I would have planned a year ago when we lived in a city.
So here's what we are doing/planning on doing.
I bought the Kids Read Truth table cards and we started using those on the first Sunday of Advent since there are 29. They are designed for kids of various ages with a question for 2-5 year olds, 6-11 year olds and 12-1 year olds. I thought they would be useful for years to come and they are so cute! Maggie has loved them so far and each night during dinner ask "when do we get to read the card?" There's also an answer key (which I wish I could have realized last night while Brandon was away at Bible study and I was trying to explain what it means to "act justly, love mercy and walk humbly" to our three year old).
We're also using a paper chain count down from Color + Kindness' Advent and Christmas Countdown Calendar and Activity Kit (download). The bundle has a number of ways to "count down" and pieces to color. I've been loving her shop for downloadable PDF Bible-focused files for my preschooler (and some have memory verse cards for mamas!).
I also bought five children's books to celebrate the season. I wanted to give them to the kids in a (somewhat) meaningful way, so I decided to wrap them up and have them open one every 4 days so we can enjoy the books before Christmas. My three year old loves reading so I think this will be right up her alley. I labeled each book with a number on the tag to correspond with certain days (1, 5, 10, 15, 20) and also wrote the numbers on the paper chain I previously mentioned.
I also purchased Amen Paper Company's Adevent Bundle, something I've wanted to do for years (you can still download the PDF devotional here for $12). I have the calendar hung up in our dining room, which is where we spend the majority of our time as a family. On the back of the cards I wrote an activity for each day. Some are simple like watch a Christmas movie and drink hot cocoa while others are baking cookies one day and taking them to neighbors the next. I also included things we already have on the calendar like attending and participating in the Living Nativity in town.
How are you celebrating the coming of Christ Jesus?