We had a great start! In the morning the boys, of course, love discovering the chocolates in our hanging Advent calendar in the kitchen. I can hear and see delight with God’s word and chocolate to celebrate God’s word.
In the evening, we are using Ann Voskamp's beautiful Advent book for children that has the pop up Christmas tree. Jordan loves opening up the book and putting the beautifully done decorations on the tree. First, we are reading one of the devotions from that book every night, praying, and asking questions. Second, we are reading Christmas picture books. The boys are taking turns picking the next Christmas book out of some 'wrapped' books In our Advent basket.
Why am I doing this?
First, it is giving me an opportunity to tell an overview of Bible stories and show the boys how Jesus is the Rescuer. He rescues us from our sin.
Second, it always all of us to grow a little in terms of consistency and discipline. (Last year we managed to get about half way through Advent before the challenge of consistency became difficult!)
Third, it gives the boys an opportunity for their faith to spiral inward. Those little Hands that flung the stars and planets into their places now reach inside us to grip and hold our hearts.
Fourth, it gives the boys an opportunity for their faith to spiral outward. They are learning about the Ultimate Giver. As they think and prepare gifts for family members and an act of service, they grow a little in how to express love and appreciation for each other.
Fourth, I love the consistency of paying attention to light and beauty. The Christmas story strikes again as beauty in the midst of chaos. Celebration in the midst of craziness. It seizes my attention. In this barren, broken stretch with no snow on the ground, the tree captures my imagination.
That gorgeous tree is defiant beauty. In a world where people continue to choose themselves, where ugliness happens, where sin seems unchecked, where daily assaults take their tool, we can point to the defiant beauty of a selfless life, seeking first the King of God, putting others first, and even sacrificing. All to proclaim the truth of something great than ourselves.
Other small gifts along the way:
Jordan loves picking the Christmas books which means he is growing in understanding the gift of reading.
Aidan grabbed the devotional last night, read the Bible verse, and started to read the meditation!
Justin even managed to learn about the light and turn it into a science experiment. Apparently, all things wax can enthrall a teenager!
Our other highlight has been light. The light and wonder of our Lord is all around us. It is displayed in candles, on the Christmas tree, in Christmas lights around our home. Light and beauty. Holiness is coming down soon!
Did you know that O come O Come Emmanuel has been sung in monasteries for 1 500 years? This song and other like it are called O' Antiphons because they began with "O" and were followed by a name of Christ. There were seven O' Antiphones and one was meant to be sung each day the week before Christmas. Here is the interesting part! The first letter of each antiphon adds up to an acrostic in Latin which read "ero cras" which means tomorrow I will be there, an anticipation of Christ's coming.
Here is what they sang:
17 December: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
18 December: O Adonai (O Lord)
19 December: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
20 December: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
21 December: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
22 December: O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)
23 December: O Emmanuel (O With Us is God)
May God bless you and your family as you move towards Christ's coming! I can feel the Spirit of the Lord moving in prayer all around me as I walk through Advent.
I would love to hear what you have done for Advent and/or what you are doing for Advent this year. I welcome you to drop a line in the comments or post on Facebook.
Grace and peace!
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
— John 1:14