Monday, November 29, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

As we prepare for Christmas day, we are taking every opportunity possible to teach the kids about why we celebrate Christmas. In a day when Christmas has become very commercialized, we believe it is so very important to stay focused on the reason for Christmas. Not that there won't be the watching of Polar Express or the singing of Jingle Bells, but our focus will be on Jesus over these next few weeks. At least, that is our goal!

One way that we are hoping to do that this year is by taking a few moments each morning to remember an important event leading up to Christ's birth. To do this, I have created our own advent "calendar".

Each pocket has in it an important part of the story that ultimately leads up to the day Jesus was born, along with the Scripture reference that tells us of that event. So, starting December 1st, we will go through the Christmas story, chronologically. While there are many different "countdowns" out there, I have chosen to use this one for this year. It is simple, and only focuses on 1-2 verses each day. Perfect for our little ones. We will be able to retell the story of Christmas, one event and one day at a time.

This was fun to make, and I actually laminated the pocket envelopes so that they will hopefully hold up for years to come.

Each year, depending on the ages of the kids, we might end up using a different countdown. I have come across lots of different advent ideas for each day, and may try something new next year. Other countdowns I have found include activities, recipes, or crafts for each day. Some include service projects that can be incorporated as well. As long as the pockets hold up, we can continue to use those and just fill them with whatever things we choose.

For us, for this year, we are keeping it simple. We will have 1-2 verses to read each day that will hopefully draw our hearts to an important event leading up to that very special first Christmas. Oh, and there will also be a little "treat" in each day's pocket...either a small piece of candy or a sticker. Just like most traditional advent calendars have.

Caleb actually made his own advent calendar in preschool. Though you probably can't tell from the photo, the surface is made of bubble wrap. He'll get to "pop" each day until Christmas! So fun!

The excitement of Christmas is definitely in the air at our house. The tree is decorated, and there are presents beneath it. Christmas music plays. Christmas crafts are made. Christmas movies are watched. Christmas cookies are eaten. But at the end of the day, we hope and pray that the joy we experience over this next month is the joy that can only be found in the Lord.


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