Today as we celebrate this first day of December, the Christmas season has officially begun for me. The shoppping, baking and decorating have begun, but today is the day when we, as a family, begin to observe Advent. We do this in many different ways. We have a wreath that we keep on our dining table with one large pillar candle in the center and four tapers on the outside, and we light one each Sunday of the month and read Scripture together. When I pulled it out from the bin as I was decorating last weekend, Cody said, "Mommy! We get to light the candles again!"
We also have an Advent calendar with doors to open each day of the month. Last year, we did it before Cody went to bed and each day he would recite the day's reading and the ones from the days and weeks prior. By Christmas, he had the whole story down...word for word and in order! It was something I looked forward to every evening.
This year, my sister Kari gave us a bag with wrapped items. Each one has a dated card so we know when to open them. She said for us to consider it a different kind of Advent calendar. I placed all the items in a basket, and Cody can't wait to find today's date and open the first one. (Thanks, Sis!)
Every day, in honor of this Advent season, I am going to post an idea for you and your family for the entire month of December. I hope that you will take a moment to read the idea and maybe even make it part of your own Advent celebration and tradition.
May you and yours be richly blessed this Christmas season.
December 1st: The Nativity
Do you have a manger scene in your home? If you don't, think about investing in one. It doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive, and it only needs three pieces to make it complete: Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. When you begin to decorate, start first with the Nativity. Invite your children to help you take the pieces out of their boxes and decide where to place them. Your children will be excited to put the baby Jesus in the scene, but don't let them. Tell them that the youngest family member will have the honor of putting the baby in the manger on Christmas Day, his birthday! All month, when your family looks at the nativity scene, you will all be reminded that Someone very important is missing. It will be a tangible way to anticipate His birth and the real reason we celebrate.
Before you open your presents Christmas morning, sit down together as a family. Allow your youngest child to place Jesus in the manger scene. And then read the Christmas story together. You will all be blessed.
"And she brought forth her firstborn son,
and wrapped him in swaddling clothes,
and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn."
P.S. I just looked at Lori's blog over at Glass Half Full, and I noticed she tagged me to share something regarding our Christmas decorations. Well, you got it! The Nativity scene is from my home. I started it two years ago and every year, my husband gives me another piece to add to it. It is made by Precious Moments and I love getting it out every year. Our decorations would not be complete without this manger scene. I keep it in a central location so that we can always look at it. Thanks Lori, and your tree looks mahvelous, darling!