I don’t know about you, but I have spent a lot of years rushing through Christmas only to arrive at Boxing Day a little perplexed about why this year didn’t feel like Christmas and a little discouraged that my family was focused more on gifts than The Gift.
Part of my plan to rescue Christmas from the rush has been to compose the Christmas I want – and we’ve been working on that since July. But I can schedule all the tasks in advance and still miss Christ at Christmas.
If I want to trade the rush of the season for the hush of the stable, I have to intentionally plan to spend time focusing on Christ each day. If I want my kids to savor the Savior, I need to serve him daily in their presence.
I’ve tried a lot of different “Advent traditions” over the years – and it all comes down to one thing: is it doable? See, with seven kids ranging from two to fourteen, the busyness of the church calendar, the school calendar, the special events calendar, the sports calendar, and all the other things that crowd into the room during December, if we don’t have something short and simple, it won’t get done.
So several years ago, I created an advent calendar for our family. It has simple cards with a small portion of scripture to read each day, a suggested hymn or carol, and a principle of Christmas to memorize (we have a total of seven principles to learn over the course of the season). We repeat this exact same schedule every.single.year. And now, many of my kids know the first (and sometimes second) verse of certain hymns by heart. They know the motions we’ve put to the principles and look forward to the unhurried unfolding of the Christmas story over the month of December. It takes 5 minutes if we are in a hurry, and longer if we can break out guitars, violins, or gather around the piano. Sometimes we light candles as we read about the light of the world, sometimes we read quickly and rush off to school or to bed or a to party. And some days we miss it altogether and need to catch up on a different day.
We’ve managed to incorporate this short Advent tradition for over ten years (mixing it up a bit from year to year). It forms a sweet part of our Christmas traditions and memories. It brings the mystery of Christ at Christmas to the table every day. It’s short enough for the toddler to pay attention and brief enough that we can succeed.
This year, you are invited to join us!
I’ve added a Bible Study and devotion for the moms, derived from the verses we’ll read as a family each day. I made some cute printables with a couple of ideas for how to create your own advent calendar. I’m still working on including sound files for the hymns and carols so you can sing along if the tunes are not familiar. And in 2014 the whole package is FREE!
Enrollment begins November 19. If you subscribe to this study you’ll get:
- Daily email with a brief devotion and directed Bible study for moms to dig into the scripture for the day.
- FREE printables and instructions for creating your own Advent Calendar
- Daily Reading Plan for the whole family
- Suggested hymn or carol tied to the reading for the day
- Ideas for activities for the kids
- Memory verses and principles to learn from the Christmas Story
- Fun give aways for Advent Study participants
You’ll also have access to an exclusive Facebook group to share ideas, photos, encouragement, and prayers as we study together. And you can follow my Savor the Savior board on Pinterest for more ideas of how to bring the Christ of Christmas into your December days.
**Please note, subscribing to the Advent Study is different than subscribing to Cultivate Grace. If you subscribe to the study you’ll receive daily emails from December 1-25, and then they’ll stop. It will not interrupt or replace your Cultivate Grace subscription. You’ll continue to get my blog posts as scheduled, year round, if you are subscribed to Cultivate Grace. You will not get the Advent Study emails unless you subscribe to the study itself.**
Enrollment opens next Wednesday, November 19, 2014. The printables and instructions for creating your advent calendar will come via email so that you have time to prepare before the study begins on December 1. Please feel free to join any time! It’s never too late to jump in. 🙂
I also encourage you to share this study with others! Share on Facebook, forward the email, pin it on Pinterest! Let’s Savor the Savior this Christmas.