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The Christmas season is full of hustle and bustle. Everywhere you turn there are lights, decorations, Santa Clause, and Christmas elves. It is easy to be caught up in the excitement and forget the true meaning for the season, especially for the little ones in our lives. To engage our hearts into the true meaning of Christmas, I add a few Advent activities into our daily lives.
What is Advent?
The season of Advent consists of the four Sundays before Christmas. It is a time of preparation for the coming of the Savior. With all the busyness of the holiday season, it is good practice to take a moment and look inside our hearts and check in with our priorities. It is all too easy to become wrapped up in the “do it all bigger and better” spirit of our modern culture and forget why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
The Advent Wreath
The most recognizable symbol of the Advent Season is the Advent Wreath. Each Sunday of Advent a candle is lit marking the next milestone of our journey to Christmas. In the Catholic tradition, there are three purple candles and one pink candle. The three purple candles represent penance and the pink candle, lit the third week of Advent, symbolize rejoicing. Candle color is far less important than the sentiment behind lighting the candle each week. Many prayers and bible studies are written to accompany the lighting of Advent Wreathes and can prove to be an excellent way to bring calm and focus to your holiday season.
Choosing the Right Wreath
Advent Wreathes come in, dare I say, millions of styles and colors. Whether you are drawn to the traditional or modern/contemporary, each wreath is beautiful in its own way. Honestly, one can search for hours looking to find the perfect one for her home and family. Currently I do not have an Advent Wreath. I have not yet found one that meets my style and budget requirements. I am currently quite attached to the one below, but am always looking. Click here to explore the land of wreathes on your own.
Simple DIY Wreath
While style and beauty is fun and brings us great joy, it comes in second to the meaning behind the wreath itself. In the spirit of the season and my abundance of creativity, I made the wreath below one year.
The leaves of the wreath are my daughters hands traced onto green construction paper. The candles are also construction paper and each week we added yellow paper flames to our wreath. We mounted our homemade Advent Wreath to our front living room window with scotch tape. Fancy is good, but so is creative. Each week we read a prayer together as we “lit” our candle. Click here for several Advent Prayer options you can add to your celebration of Advent.
The Advent Calendar is another way to countdown the days to the Savior’s birth. They come in a myriad of styles depending on your family’s preference. Many are purely for decoration, while others are filled with goodies. I personally think the idea of chocolate or wine behind every door is fascinating, but my children are drawn to things like Lego figures and Matchbox Cars. No matter the style, I bring the focus back to Jesus’ birth. We are celebrating the coming of our Savior and King.
DIY Advent Countdown
The Advent Calendar is a daily countdown, it just has some bells and whistles to go along with the counting. Paper chains are an easy way to count down to Christmas with your kiddos. They are easy to put together, inexpensive, and can even teach patterns and counting. It is always a win when you can sneak in some learning with the Christmas excitement. See our Advent Countdown Chain below.
It never ceases to amaze me how much excitement tearing off a paper chain can create in a child. Every day I get to enjoy their excitement and take a minute to talk to them about Advent, Christmas, and the Baby Jesus. What more can a momma ask for?
I love all parts of the Christmas season. The hustle and bustle and holiday parties remind me how many wonderful people I have to share my life. Twinkling lights, glowing candles, and beautiful decorations spark joy in my heart and give me comfort in the dark nights of early winter. The prayers and scripture of the season of Advent remind me the real reason we celebrate is for the one who came to save us. What a wonderful combination the month of December brings!
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