It’s official- I am late to Advent.
Someone please explain to me why Advent started November 30 instead of December 1? I have been working on a fun Advent Alphabet in Pictures to use with the Lees this season and was all set to start on December 1. Thanks to social media I learned Tuesday morning that I actually missed the first day. (And of course, since I am only now sharing this post I am technically 3 days late to Advent).
Oh well. That very first Christmas was pretty messy, too, so why would I expect mine to be tidy and neat? That very first Christmas was pretty messy, too, so why would I expect mine to be tidy and neat? Click To Tweet
I did not grow up in a family that celebrated and studied Advent daily during the Christmas season (although we did light candles at church each Sunday). In fact, I only know of one family that did celebrate Advent. I didn’t really get it. I knew there was a calendar and some candy and (until very recently) that is where my knowledge ended. The last few years I have known many families to celebrate Advent. I’m not sure if I was just unaware growing up or if Advent has become part of the social media Christmas trend that sends every mom into a busy frenzy of doing instead of actually enjoying the holidays. Regardless, as I have been building traditions for my little family these past few years I repeatedly return to the same goal.
I want Christmas to be more than a man in a red suit and a pile of presents in my house!
researching Advent taking a crash course in Advent via Pinterest and came across so many great, but involved ideas. Many families tie their Advent lessons to a daily act of service or family activity. I’m sure in a few years when the girls are older and require a little more intentional entertainment I will be making use of those ideas, but for now that seemed a little daunting.
I was looking for simple, 10 minutes or less activities and the Advent Alphabet offered by Becky at Tales of Beauty for Ashes seemed like a perfect fit.
Becky also has a fun little Advent activity that coordinates with a different wrapped book to read each night. As I am the most prepared mom ever, I chose not to go that route since I:
- do not own that many Christmas books.
- do not want to spend a small fortune on new Christmas books right this minute.
- am too late to get (good) Christmas books from the library since the prepared moms have already stolen them all.
However, I loved the Advent Alphabet and thought it would be great for the Lees since they are 28 months and 8 months these days. Anything more would have been a bit ambitious!
I stumbled across Adriel’s blog and loved her The Jesus Storybook Bible reading plan. (FYI- Procrastinating parents! This is the Advent plan for you!!) Procrastinating parents! This is the Advent plan for you!! Click To Tweet The Jesus Storybook Bible has 21 Old Testament stories and 3 New Testament stories before the story of the 1st Christmas. Does it get much more perfect than that? And we already had a copy. Done!
Of course, the recovering teacher in me needed a manipulative of sorts and a visual to add meaning for very small children so Advent in Pictures (and a Tree) were born.
I found this fancy cardboard Advent box at Hobby Lobby for 50% off and dressed it up a little with scrapbook paper that has been collecting dust since the Lees came along. (I’m not gonna lie, I want to go back and buy about 15 more of these! They are perfect for sorting tasks, craft supply storage, Minnie Mouse Bowtique clothes… oh the options!)
I also bought 2 packs of these ornaments to hang on our Advent tree with the daily scripture attached. (I tied twine from one of my craft boxes to the ornaments instead of using hooks. I prefer that my children have all their eyeballs intact on Christmas morning.)
We are using the white Christmas tree
because it represents the pure and blameless infant lying in a manger because we already had it.
Unfortunately the Lees are not child prodigies (so I guess we won’t be getting an invite to Ellen anytime soon) and are not reading as of yet but because I am a recovering teacher I had a little trick up my sleeve. When teaching non-readers I use a picture exchange system so I am not simply telling the non-readers what is happening. In other words- I use very simple pictures instead of words.
I am giving a FREE copy of the Advent Alphabet in Pictures to all my subscribers. Would you like a copy? Sign up here! (PS- I won’t spam you! That would be annoying).
Just to recap– our 10 minute Advent devotion goes as follows:
- Take the ornament from the appropriate letter box (A is Day 1, B is Day 2, etc) and read the scripture that corresponds.
- Add the ornament to the tree.
- Read The Jesus Storybook Bible story that corresponds with that day (Start with the very first story and read one in order each day until Christmas!)
- Put all the kids to bed!
- Oh- and pray! A prayer should definitely happen at some point during the Advent devotion.
What do you do for Advent? Please share your fantastic ideas!
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