Monday, January 7, 2013

December in our home

December of '12 was a joyful time for us. It has taken many years for me to figure out how to "do" December in our family. It has been a genuine struggle for me. The questions that are constantly floating around in my head is: How do I be in this world - love the people around me - but not be of the world? How do I teach my children what really matters? How do I teach it without causing an heir of self righteousness about how we do things? It's taken me several years to figure out what works for us, but I think I finally have found peace with how to do December in our family. Instead of focusing on what we don't do. I want to focus on what we do. I am going to give a detailed description of what we do in the month of December. 
Every night after our evening meal, we sit down and read the scriptures together. We read through many of the prophecies that tell of the promised savior and we read the passages that give a detailed account of His birth. We also do a craft that corresponds with the scripture reading. When we are done with the craft ... we hang it on our advent banner.

I was able to be a little more sophisticated this year with our crafts and all four of the children had a great time making the crafts. I love that all 4 of the children were engaged and enjoyed our time reading through the scriptures.

We ended our time of Advent with a reading of Philippians 2, and then each child made a wooden cross to go in the middle of the banner. After all, the cross is why He came. On the very last day of our advent celebration, as I read the Philippians passage out loud I was overwhelmed with the knowledge of what Jesus had come to earth to do for us. Obviously this is not new information for me, but reading it out loud to my children after just having walked through the scriptures of God's plan for humanity - a plan that was given the first time just after Adam and Eve first sinned...I was just overcome by His mercy, grace, and love that Jesus displayed on the cross for me. I could barely get through the reading of this passage. Tears were freely flowing down my face as I tried to get the words of Philippians 2 out of my mouth clearly for these precious children to hear. I looked up as I finished reading the last verse of the passage and saw the most incredible sight. I saw my two oldest sons wiping tears from their face as well. The magnitude of what this promised Savior had done for us swept over us and brought tears of joy.
There is no greater joy than Jesus. You cannot manufacture true joy like that. There is no tradition that exists that can bring joy like Jesus can bring. There was a time when I wrestled with the idea of not putting up a tree or decorating the house, now I fully embrace the simplicity of it. (It didn't happen overnight, though! It was definitely a process)
Those are the moments that I treasure with my children.
After we read through each of the Advent readings, we give each of our children 3 gifts. We chose to do this for the symbolism of the 3 gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh brought to Jesus, and for the symbolism of Jesus being God's greatest gift to us.
As my children get older, this time of preparation for celebrating God's most precious gift to us who came as a humble servant becomes more and more special and meaningful. 
The lamb and the lion ... not only have we been given a Savior who died for us ... we've been given hope for what is to come when He returns. I'm so thankful for this truth!

I used a couple of different sources for our advent readings this year. I bought Truth in the Tinsel - an e-book. We did use a few ideas from that source. Although, I found it a bit too young for my older kiddos. It also didn't take us through the Old Testament as much as I prefer. I like for my children to see Jesus from the beginning and Truth in the Tinsel didn't provide enough of that. I love the format and the wonderful craft ideas, though!! I also used Ann Voskamp's A Jesus Advent Celebration. I used the power of google to get craft ideas for some of the readings that would be small enough and able to be pinned onto our banner.

I hope that reading about the way we do December will be an encouragement to you and mostly my hope and prayer is that God will be honored and the glory will be all His. 

1 comment:

  1. Love this, Larissa! We took some of ours from Ann Voskamp's too!