Are you ready for Advent?

Well, the Thanksgiving feast is over, all the leftovers  have been put away and the kitchen is clean! Now, it’s time to turn our attention to Advent, which begins this Sunday, November 28. We’ve celebrated Advent as a family since my oldest daughter was a toddler. It’s a wonderful way to focus on the true meaning of the season. Over the years, we’ve done several different things to celebrate the season and focus on Christ’s coming.

Children Of The World Advent WreathWe have an Advent wreath that we light each night, using readings I copied many years ago. It’s amazing how even a toddler can remember what each candle stands for and participate in this family tradition!

We also have a fabric Advent calendar with velcro figures that hangs in our dining room. Beginning with the youngest, each morning the children take turns adding the next figure to the scene. On Christmas Day they all add Baby Jesus to the manger together. 

In past years we’ve sometimes done a Jesse Tree. This is similar to an Advent calendar, but uses figures representing Christ’s lineage each day, starting with Adam and Eve and moving through Biblical history. I love this concept. I’ve written often about how important I think it is to teach the Bible to children as one big story rather than a collection of loosely related stories with a moral or lesson about God, and the Jesse Tree fits right into that priority. When my older two were little, I had ornaments for each day I’d made from fabric, wood, and other materials but they finally wore out. Most recently, I’ve used printable ones that my younger ones can color and hang. Hopefully I’ll have time to make nicer ones again soon!

Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for AdventOur family has really enjoyed reading Jotham’s JourneyTabitha’s Travels, and Bartholomew’s Passage each Advent season also. Set during Biblical times, these are storybooks designed to be read aloud during Advent. Each one features the fictional story of the adventures of a child who is somehow related to Christ’s birth. The books are broken up into readings for each night during Advent, with a special devotional section to read each Sunday evening after the story. They’re very well written…each night leaves you hanging, keeping everyone eagerly anticipating what will happen next! We’ve cycled through them several times, one each year. Three years between readings keeps the story exciting for everyone. I highly recommend these…we’ve loved them! A neat idea that we’ve sometimes done is to read the story by candlelight each night after lighting your Advent wreath.

Celebrating the Christian YearFinally, I’ve gleaned many wonderful ideas for not only Advent, but St. Nicholas Day, Epiphany, and other Biblical holidays from Martha Zimmerman’s wonderful book Celebrating the Christian Year. It’s apparently out of print, but used copies are quite reasonable. This has been a well-used resource for our family. 

Over the next several weeks, I’ll share how we celebrate other special days of the season like St. Nicholas Day, Hanukkah, and Epiphany.

How does your family celebrate Advent? Do you have any special traditions? I’d love to hear about them.

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Comments

  1. HI Kara!I found your blog listed on the Picket Fence site and hopped on over to see your Advent post :)Our family has similar Advent traditions as you with the wreath, cloth Nativity calendar, Jesse Tree, and we will be reading Jotham's Journey too 🙂 I hope to post about our Advent traditions sometime today since the season is upon us as we prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth!Have a blessed Advent!I clicked a vote for you on the Picket Fence 🙂 Tracy at " A Slice of Smith Life" http://www.asliceofsmithlife.blogspot.com

  2. We began reading Bartholomew's Passage last night. We have been reading these Advent books for about six years now. They never get boring!

  3. We've been working on a Jesse Tree for the first time this year. We've really enjoyed it.

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