For the first time ever, I’m actually on top of Advent this year. In the past I’ve done small things, or parts of things, but this year I really wanted to get organized and have a good plan as we try to foster an atmosphere of building anticipation for the arrival of the Savior, Jesus.
This is probably also the first year Jackson is old enough to really “get it” and Taylor is his little shadow, so it seems like a good year to get it together. A lot of the execution for this is going to fall to Kyle this year, since I’ll be recovering from birth here soon. But that works out since he will be off for most of the month on paternity leave – government job for the win! These are the things we are hoping to do throughout the 25 days before Christmas/Advent season.
Each Sunday before Christmas, we will light a candle on the table (I haven’t made an official wreath yet, but I put the five candles in a group on our dining room table each year) and read a verse:
1. Light the 1st candle. It represents the HOPE of the promised Messiah. Isaiah 9:1-3
2. Light the 2nd candle. It reminds us that the coming Savior will be the Prince of PEACE. Isaiah 9:6-7
3. Light the 3rd candle. It reminds us the JOY we may have in Christ. Isaiah 35:1-2, 10
4. Light the 4th candle. It reminds us that God LOVES us so much that He sent his only Son. John 3:16
5. Christmas Day – Light the middle candle and the other four. The Savior is come!
With the littles – Readings from the Jesus Storybook Bible
For the bigger set – Good News of Great Joy
I’m using this Tin and Chalkboard Advent calendar from Starbucks this year. It says its not available online, but your local shop should have one. I’ll print out the activity on small pieces of paper and put it in the right numbered tin. Some year I’ll get all fancy and make my own pocket calendar. Or, more realistically, I’ll pay someone to make one for me. :-)
1. Make a Christmas countdown chain using the Names of Jesus chain and this poem for the top:
Christmas Day will soon be here and I can hardly wait.
I’ve made this little Christmas chain to help me celebrate.
Each day I will snip one loop from it to help me to remember.
To rejoice of Jesus birthday on the 25th of December!
2. Decorate the tree and the house and unwrap/read two new Christmas books
5. Watch a Charlie Brown Christmas with popcorn.
6. Pajama surprise – hot cocoa and Christmas light drive.
7. Snowman marshmallow craft (on Christmas Pinterest board)
8. Go caroling at the nursing home.
9. Make a borax snowflake.
10. Make/bake sugar cookie cut-outs.
11. Decorate cookies.
12. Christmas tree craft – (paper tree/hole punch/tissue paper/hang in window).
13. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and sprinkles w/ breakfast.
14. Bell ringing for Jack and Kyle and indoor dinner picnic by the tree/lights.
15. Reindeer pancakes for breakfast and Christmas Musicale at Fourth Baptist.
16. Unwrap and read two more new books.
17. Birthday Cake (or cupcakes) for Jesus (invite friends for a party?)
18. Buy presents for Toys for Tots or other charity, donate.
19. Service Project: Pack VoM action packs with small group.
20. Christmas music dance party (AM) & watch The Polar Express (PM).
21. Play the “count the snowball game”.
22. Make thumbprint snowmen cornstarch dough ornaments for grandparents.
23. Take cookies to neighbors.
24. Christmas Eve service and maybe new pajamas?
25. JESUS! Christmas morning: read Luke 2, special breakfast and open gifts.
And if we don’t get to everything, no worries. It’s far more important to love on the kids than do a million projects, like this wise mama reminds us. I’m not going to spaz out if we miss a day.
That’s about everything, I think! I hope it is helpful for others who might want to create their own list of fun things to build excitement and anticipation for Christmas Day and the arrival of the Christ Child. May your Christmas season be merry and bright as you celebrate all the gifts HE has given us, beginning with Himself.