We are only 14 days til the start of our Christian advent which starts on Nov. 28th. For our family that is the start of our Christmas countdown, but a lot of people prefer to start on Dec. 1st. However more important than the date you start on is that you make this a time of expectation.
The long awaited Messiah has come and will come again, but that sense of expectancy is somehow lost in our daily lives. We have forgot that we will one day stand before God in all his glory. At Christmas we not only celebrate his birth, but we celebrate his long awaited return. That expectancy is what Advent is all about. Its living passionately, fully aware that we are awaiting something great. It is also remembering that something great has already happened.... love came down to earth wrapped in flesh.
We choose to celebrate Advent because it reminds us of the reason we celebrate Christmas. It also strengthens our family and takes the focus off gifts. So how do we do this? Well it changes every year. Most of the time the kids awake to a note that gives them some activity to do that day. That might be as simple as praying for a neighbor. Some days it will include activities that we already have scheduled such as caroling or Christmas plays. It always has the days left til Christmas on it & it is always eagerly anticipated.
Personally I believe the kids need more than a piece of candy in a countdown box. They need a piece of what Christmas is all about. They need the joy, the expectancy, the hope of peace on earth. They need to know that their life's have meaning and that they are a part of Gods plan for redemption.. Not just later when they grow up, but now.
Yes that might seem like a tall order during an already rushed Christmas season, but like I said it is as simple as praying for someone each day during advent. It is as simple as reading a Christmas book everyday that focuses on whats truly important. It is as simple as making a point of reading your bible as a family during the Christmas season. Heck if you still want the candy, eat it while reading.
What matters is that you find a tradition that works for your family and I will do my best to share with you what works for mine with some added ideas along the way.
In the days ahead I will share with you some ideas for making the advent calender and some links for celebrating it. However if your interested in learning more about the traditional way of celebrating Advent take a look at this site for a more in depth intro.
As always remember at the center of everything should be your deep love for Christ.