Advent Favorites

Remember that one time I started a blog to keep up with family events, happenings, and all of our favorite things and then didn’t write anything for nearly 10 months? Yea, me too. Seriously, I have no idea where the time went. I blinked and it’s already the end of November! We’ve gone through a crazy Spring/Summer, sent Penny off to PreK this Fall, and are anticipating all the things that are coming up for our family in 2018!

To jump back into things, I thought I’d share some of our favorite items for Advent! Growing up, Christmas was not celebrated as a religious holiday, even though I grew up in a very religious family. For us, this was just another time of the year for the entire extended family to come together to celebrate life and make memories. I remember good food, late nights, and exchanging gifts with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

It wasn’t until James and I were married that I began to really think about what I/we wanted this season to mean for us as a family, both now and in the future. We both tend to be very legacy minded when it comes to holidays…what traditions and rhythms do we want to build into this season that we still cherish and celebrate when the girls are 16 and in high school? 18 and coming home from college? in their 20s and bringing home serious boyfriends/fiance? 30s and bringing home grandbabies and carrying on traditions in their own homes? It makes us stop and focus on what’s meaningful instead of packing our schedules full of all the Christmas things.

Advent is derived from the Latin word adventus which means “coming”. By the 6th century, Roman Christians had tied this to the coming of Christ, not his coming as a baby, but his second coming as King. Not until the Middle Ages was Christ’s advent as a baby linked to Christmas time. The season of Advent is celebrated the first four Sundays leading up to Christmas, followed by the “twelve days of Christmas”, which is Christmas Eve until Epiphany on January 6. ( For us, Advent begins December 1 and ends on Christmas Eve.

We love taking this time of year to pause and remember that God ALWAYS keeps his promises. From the garden and fall of man, God promised to send a Rescuer…a Messiah who would take away all our pain and bear all our sins. For centuries, the Israelites prayed and waited for the advent of their promised Messiah. Prophets foretold of signs and wonders that would precede his birth. And then, one quite night in a barn, God’s word, his promise to the world, became flesh. Jesus was here. He lived, died, and ascended to the right hand of God. Another season of advent began. As modern Christians, we live in a period of “already, not yet” as we await the advent of Jesus as king.

This is what we pour into the girls, especially now that they are getting older and beginning to understand these concepts more and more. God always keeps his promises and this season is a reminder of that for us.

So, what are some of our favorite tools to use to create tradition as well as pour this truth into our hearts daily? Check them out below!

Fisher Price Little People Nativity

Our favorite item and most loved, as seen by “Jo-fish”‘s face. The girls love telling who each person is, especially Penny. She’s gotten to an age and understanding of the story of Jesus’ birth that she can use these toys to tell the story. We love having a visual for the girls to see when we talk about each of the different events and people that led up to that moment.

Crew & Co Advent Cards & The Jesus Storybook Bible

The Jesus Storybook Bible is hands down our FAVORITE tool for imparting the story of God’s grace and love to our girls. We love that each story points out human flaws and points them back to God/Jesus and how their love is greater than anything we could ever deserve or imagine. Sally Lloyd-Jones and the team at Zondervan have some great FREE tools that we’ve used in the past for Advent. This year, I found these adorable cards from Crew & Co on Instagram and instantly knew they had to be part of our Advent tradition. Typically, we hang a card every night as we read the story, but these are so pretty that I wanted to display all of them in full the entire season. Each card has a cute illustration on it as well as a Bible verse from the story. I can’t wait to use these year after year!

Paul David Tripp’s Come Let Us Adore Him

This is a new one for us this year. Recommended by Alyssa Bethke on Instagram (and seriously, if you aren’t following the Bethkes, you need to be! Authors, great Christian mentors for the millennial generation, cute kids, PLUS they live in Hawaii, so the views are stunning!!) I knew this was one I had to add to our collection. One 5-10 minute devotion each day from December 1-24 with a suggestion for families with kids on how to apply the reading to daily life and get healthy discussion going. I love that we will be able to use this year after year and watch the girls grow in their understanding of this story through the discussion questions! You can get a copy for your family on Amazon.

She/He Reads Truth Advent 2017 Devotionals

Another recommendation from Alyssa Bethke and one I’m excited to dig into starting Friday!! These devotionals from She Reads Truth are so beautiful! The photos, the quality…everything about them screams winter & Christmas! Lots of places for taking notes and writing thoughts. The women’s book even has recipes and craft ideas! She Reads Truth has several other reading plans available and after seeing the quality of these, I definitely think it will be something we pursue again for other personal studies!

There you have it! Our current favorites for celebrating this season of Advent! Does your family have any fun traditions for celebrating Advent or the Christmas season? What are some treasured items you have out in your home that you look forward to sharing with your family every year? I’d love to hear! There are so many different ways to celebrate this season!

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