Sunday, November 29, 2015

1st Day of Advent... success!

I feel really good about Advent this year. Aside from the fact that I failed to get something to hang the ornaments ON for our first day, it has come together nicely. While I shared the Names of God Ornaments we are doing HERE, I wanted to share what we are doing as a whole.

The advent wreath we have been doing for a few years now. This year, not unlike other years, I forgot till the last minute that Purple and pink candles are hard to find in our area. Ribbon to the rescue. I love how they turned out actually, we will just have to watch when the flame gets lower so we don't start it on fire. 

Although it does not start until Dec 1. We will also be doing the Jesse Tree using the ornaments from Ann Voskamp. 

I got her book, The Greatest Gift, downloaded and printed the ornaments that go with the book/readings for each day till Christmas. You can see her page at
A Holy Experience. She really does to invite you to a stronger more intimate relationship with God. In so many ways. 
I admit I really do LOVE the resin ornaments, but will have to wait a while before splurging on THIS beautiful set. Seriously... they are beautiful. And Unwraping the Greatest Gift geared more towards the kids is something I WILL have next year.
We have done the Jesse Tree for several years, and used The Greatest Gift two years. 
For this year I have put an ornament along with a "kindness" card in an envelope that I decorated with an old Christmas card. 

Next, I put together a makeshift manger. Yes, I know it's not pretty, but then I figured the real manger was not exactly posh either and I am going to make it work as well.
I cut some yarn that I already had from previous years crafts (hence the color choice) and sat them side by side. Remember that "kindness" card I mentioned earlier? This is where it comes into play. I read Matthew 25:40 to them:  
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ And explained that they are to put a piece of straw (yarn) into the manger each time they do a kindness for someone else, because the straw will make the manger more comfortable for Jesus.  As you can see they are working on it. Even though we ran out of time to do today's "kindness" they got the idea and took it upon themselves to work it with each other here at home. I really hope this one takes root. 

Reading List. We are going to attempt to read one Christmas book each evening. We don't have 27 Christmas books in the house, but we have several and will take a trip or two to the library to get others. Tonight we read Bear Stays Up for Christmas. Yes, I had an audience of 5 for this, the 19 year old is not home often since he is busy with school and work and volunteering with the fire department, but he was home tonight so he joined in, and listened as I read this short story. 

The kids here at home are 5, 9, 12, 15, and 19. I've got to keep things fairly simple. It sounds like a lot, but really these things all together take just a little time. Memories in the making. We have added things through the years so it isn't like I had to run out and buy a bunch of stuff. And I am a cheapskate. I don't like to spend a lot of money. The wreath I got at Michaels for 3.00 one year after Christmas. I think the most I've spent was this year when I spent .49 cents each for 116 plastic ornaments to put the Names of God in. Most everything is either made (with love of course) or I wait for a sale. Don't be scared to jump into the Advent spirit with what you have. If  you don't have a wreath... color one. The idea is to get the family thinking about the Christ Child and to still your life a bit. All of the above is work, no doubt, to prepare so it goes smoothly BUT this time of year is my favorite because the kids make a special effort to sit quietly and listen and learn.

That said, even through this we have some fun. Like when I said "Amen" for one of God's names and my 12 yr old who wasn't paying particular attention right then, looked up and said "amen" a little confused because he thought he'd missed a whole prayer. Kids will be kids, but they try, and they watch you. So have fun and quiet your heart when it doesn't go JUST so.

Happy Advent! 

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