Christmas! What a wonderful time of the year! Is it?? Advertising starts so early, children start clamoring for toys before Thanksgiving. Materialism, greed, parties that don’t celebrate anything of value, and performances galore is what our culture has turned Christmas into.
How can you turn this around in your family? One way to do this is to celebrate advent. Below you will find wonderful books (Jotham’s Journey and Bartholomew’s Passage) that share stories during the advent season in biblical times. Celebrating advent is an adventure that will bring the true meaning of Christmas into your home throughout the month of December.
During the advent season, one new candle is lit each week. While our children were growing up, instead of tapered candles, we took the children to find candles that represented what they stood for. One year she found a sparkling purple and red jar that would hold a votive candle to represent the prophecy of the coming King (purple is the color of royalty). For the shepherd’s candle, I remember when we found a dark blue candle that had been rolled in silver glitter. One of our girls thought it looked like a starry night. We put a small porcelain lamb by it. We found a glittering gold candle in the shape of a star for the wise men candle, and a gold metal angel with a place to put a small votive candle finished the candles we needed to get for the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve.
Carla would arrange all of these on a gold placemat in the center of our coffee table. In the middle was a red and purples velvet box she mad that was propped open by a gold candle in the shape of a gift to represent the greatest gift of all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Whenever we had friends of any age in the house, our kids would take them in to look at the candles and carefully explained how each participated in the birth of Christ.
Once our kids were around 4th grade or so, we assigned them a week and had them write a story about that week’s candle. They also picked a Christmas carol that went along with that week’s theme for the family to sing together while the candles were lit. They eagerly shared what they had learned and looked forward to lighting the candle that week. Set a time each week to celebrate advent. Notice we used the word, ‘celebrate’. It truly should be a celebration, not just one more thing to do.
In the bookstore we carry three books we highly recommend for the advent season and we have had many families tell us what a blessing these books have been for their family. The first in this series is Jotham’s Journey, followed by Bartholomew’s Passage and Tabitha’s Travels. All three stories take place during the birth of Christ. With this series you have three years of advent celebration!
by Joey Link