When the girls were old enough to equate Christmas with piles of presents, I began a Christmas reformation. Fearing that Santa and Jesus together were just too confusing, we had never introduced the jolly man as anything more than a fictional character like Superman or Mickey Mouse. We also themed our tree so that each ornament was related to the nativity. Still, I could tell I needed to fight harder for my girls’ hearts at Christmas and so we we began to celebrate advent. The first year I needed something cheap. I didn’t want just a little calendar with windows to open because the competition was fierce. I found little Christmas themed boxes, almost like Chinese take out containers, only smaller. I strung 25 of them together and began our first advent.
Each year we have celebrated the season in slightly different ways. The first year I stuffed little papers with the part of scripture I wanted to read that day along with a clue of where to look in the house to find a hershey kiss. The next year we did a Jesse tree and parts of Ann Voskamp’s devotional. One year we used Lisa Welchel’s book The ADVENTure of Christmas. We’ve tried many methods and enjoy the variety. Last week, readers shared with me ways they celebrate advent. So I’ve compiled a list from experience and from recommendation to help you in your own celebration. I wish I thought of this sooner, but I’ve started advent late before. No one will mind, except maybe your perfectionist self.
- ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel. This daily devotion is simple to understand for young kids. It is a history of traditions, explaining how traditions like trees and card sending originated and connects each one to the central message of Christ.
- Truth in the Tinsel by Amanda White. This ebook prepares little hearts for Christmas and teaches them quite a bit of scripture through repetition. Each day you and your little ones will make an ornament to help the lesson sink in. The ebook is $7.99 and if you want, you can buy printable ornaments for the day when a craft is just too much. You can’t buy this book on Amazon so be sure to follow the link.
- The ABCs of Christmas by Ray Pritchard. So I haven’t actually seen this one, but it is an ebook and is free until Dec 2 for Kindle users. It is a 26-day devotional and each day is a letter of the alphabet. I bet some of you crafty mommas could devise a lovely calendar or display to go with the readings.
- The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp. We will be returning to Voskamp this year for advent because her writing is so beautiful and never fails to point us toward Christ. This book is new material, different from the free ebook we used a few year ago. Those who purchase the book can access free printables for their Jesse tree.
- The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman. Recommended by a reader, this book is an heirloom. Full of gorgeous illustrations, it is a devotion and calendar together. Each day the family will open a new door, and reopen the all the doors from the previous days. This book is the kind of advent tradition that will create memories.
- Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas. This one, this one is for you, in case you want to wrap yourself deeply in passions of great thinkers and writers. Or maybe if you have high school kids. It is a compilation of poems and essays by those gifted in thinking, writing, and communicating. Here’s the blurb on the back of the book, “It’s hard to go wrong with 40 essays and poems from theological writers such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Madeleine L’Engle, Martin Luther, Kathleen Norris, Henri Nouwen, Philip Yancey, Karl Barth and Síren Kierkegaard. These are not frivolous, feel-good Advent readings; they are deep, sometimes jarring reflections, many with a strong orientation toward social justice. This collection, born of obvious passion and graced with superb writing, is a welcome even necessary addition to the glutted holiday bookshelves.” Yes. I am ready.