|Our Advent Wreath|
I kind of envisioned us sitting around the Advent Wreath during our family bible story time in the evening, the soft candlelight, the quite peacefulness and family harmony, etc, etc...I must be delusional. I'm not sure whose family I was picturing, but it certainly wasn't ours. Our Advent time usually starts with our kids arguing over whose turn it is to light the candles or hang the Jesse Tree ornament. Princess keeps insisting that she wants to light the pink one and doesn't understand why she has to wait two more weeks. Once that is settled the remainder of the time consists of me interrupting the bible story at least 6 times with "Don't touch the candles!" or "Leave the flame alone!" or my personal favorite, "Sit back before you catch your clothes on fire!" Toddler Boy is especially drawn to the glowing ball of light. He fusses and whines so bad I've sometimes resorted to doing the family bible time after putting him to bed (surely Jesus understands). Doug or I then quickly finish the story and prayer time and blow out the candles before we have to call in the fire department. And this is when we are lighting just one candle!!
We're also doing a Jesse Tree. Currently, there are only 5 or so ornaments on said tree. Not to worry, we homeschool so I can do catch up ornaments during our morning family bible reading time after breakfast. Our Jesse Tree was super economical, I just sent one of the kids out to the yard to find a stick with lots of little branches on it and stuck it in a vase with a ribbon. Easy, peasy (my kind of art project). The kids did the ornaments too, I found them online at Michele Quigley's site, here's the link. You just print them, cut them out and glue them. For us non-crafty types you can modify the original by just hole punching instead of gluing the ribbon. I love that the bible verses are actually printed on the ornament so you don't have to look them up separately while juggling five kids during the devotions (I only have so many hands)!
There are so many other great ideas for Advent out there. We're signed up to receive the Holy Heroes Advent Adventures, a daily devotion for kids, but honestly I haven't really incorporated them. I love the concept but I'm trying to keep things really simple this year because Toddler Boy is at that one year old, get into everything age right now. My hands are full enough, since we already do a family evening devotion the Advent Wreath and Jesse Tree were easy to add.
I have come to appreciate and love the season of Advent. The nation of Israel waited thousands of years for Christ to come, and we as His Church are in a season of waiting for Him to return. Advent connects us in this period of anticipation, of patiently waiting for God to unveil His plan for us. I have really tried to relay that to the kids, that many people throughout time belonged to Christ and were longing for His coming both then and today. May the season of Advent draw us ever closer to that mystery.