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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Preparing for Advent

I know, I know, Thanksgiving isn't even here yet! I know some of you may cringe at the thought that Christmas is right around the corner, but I'm so excited I can't stand it! Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the memories we make as a family, and I love to watch my kids as we celebrate the season. This year I am even more excited than ever, because it's the first year that I have planned our lessons around this special time of year. We will take a break after Thanksgiving, and won't return to our normal school schedule until January. Nice!

A couple of years ago I learned that if I really want to make the season special for my kids I needed to put Christ at the center of it all. This is something I always knew, but failed to execute properly. I knew in my head, but not in my heart.

It was always a desire of mine to teach the kids of the true meaning of Christmas, but I never "got it" until just a couple of years ago. It's one thing to think about it, but it's whole other thing to actually do it. I did a Bible study called Preparing My Heart for Advent, by Ann Marie Stewart, and for the first time I figured out the secret to getting it all together at this time of year. Preparation.

Not just preparation of the home, to-do lists, and so forth, but maily preparation of the heart.

The study took me through a journey of the familiar Christmas story made fresh with a history and understanding I had never had before. I highly reccomend it. But, whether if it's with something like this study or simply through pray and preparation, I hope you will join me in preparing our hearts for Advent.

"The Latin word for Advent means "the coming". The advent season was instituted as a time of fasting for holy living, and it remains a time of inward preparation for the commemoration of the coming of Christ...It's a month to be still and remember the God of our past , present, and future. In anticipating His first coming, we celebrate His presence in the present, and prepare for his second coming to Earth." ~ Ann Marie Stewart, Preparing My Heart for Advent

Before God worked on my heart, I let December 1st creep up before I even thought about Christmas. All the shopping would have to be done at the last minute, and I found myself running around like crazy until all of a sudden it was over. I would begin the new year with regret I hadn't taken time to find peace in the season that our world has turned into "hustle and bustle". It hearts my heart just thinking about it.

I didn't want that for me or my kids one more year! I wanted to relish in the joy of the season. Have a chance to be still. Enjoy activities with the kids, and actually have time to do them. Not just any activities, but Christ centered activities that would teach my boys about the One and Only Savior who was sent to us on Christmas morning. The One who is the the Light of the world (John 8:12). The Only One who we can find true peace in. Jesus.

That year was the first year I made a prayerful decision to change things from the way the world told me they should be to the way God had planned for us to have them. It's the one year my oldest says was his favorite Christmas. I truly believe he will remember it forever as a very special year. In fact, last year there were some jokes that I hadn't "beaten" the Christmas before! Ugh-boys!

How can you experience Christmas in a fresh way this year? What is your hope for the season? Think about what you can do to focus on Christ this Christmas. Print out a calendar for the month of December, and write down an Advent plan. Begin your lists of to-dos now, and see what you can get done before December. Give yourself a chance to focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year.

Throughout the rest of the month I will posting more and more Advent related activities and ideas for you and your family. I found the more I got ready ahead of time, the more time I had with my kids to enjoy the season. I hope you will join me!

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel-which means "God with us."
~Matthew 1:23




At November 12, 2010 at 5:19 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

Thanks for the inspiration! I look forward to more posts!

At November 12, 2010 at 2:46 PM , Blogger Mama Hen said...

I am with you Adrienne about being excited for Christmas! I love this time of the year and look forward to it! Advent and the Advent wreath is something we always did in our house. I also remember lighting candles each year when we were in school. I went to a Catholic school. I love knowing that there is someone else who is getting into the spirit also! No bah humbugs around here! Have a great day my friend!

Mama Hen

At November 14, 2010 at 2:46 PM , Blogger Ruth said...

i can't wait for Christmas... the best is i would be with my parents at their home for Christmas this year...

At November 15, 2010 at 9:34 AM , Blogger Shell said...

I'm trying to do this this year, too. I have a review to do soon on a book called My Family Christmas Book and Memories: Advent and Christmas Prayers and Activities to Build Family Traditions Centered on Jesus Christ.

I'm loving it!

At November 28, 2010 at 4:31 PM , Blogger Undeserving Grace said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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