In December, we use an advent calendar to help us look forward to and prepare for Christmas. I have previously tucked in sweets, or “King’s Treats” – but then the children had to take turns. Let’s admit that although taking turns may be a good character builder, it’s just not quite as fun. So this year, I tuck in a slip of paper cut around the edges, all cute like, and list a treat – which can be an activity or victuals. And I decide the night before or that morning, so that on a busy (or bad) day, I am not committed to doing something completely outside of my capabilities – meaning I have to have the time and be able to be cheerful – otherwise, what’s the point?!?
I must readily admit that this fourth child has thrown me for a loop. I do not know if it was because of how it started, because the two babies are closer in age than I have ever had them, because I am older, or just because there are four, but I find myself needing more help. Thankfully, I have (mostly) willing helpers, and it actually forces me to delegate some responsibilities to the children that I probably should have already done. But with more responsibilities, is it not proper to enjoy more blessings? I think so, too. So this year, although the Advent/Christmas decorating will go slower, it will be mostly done together, and hopefully make some cherished memories, and perhaps even traditions.
We also started last year or the year before the tradition of giving the children little Advent gifts each Sunday at our Sabbath Supper. This year, as we usually do, we celebrated the First Sunday in Advent in Texas with Andre’s parent. We gave the children ceramic Christmas decorations with Bluebonnets on them. We hope those ornaments will be a fun reminder to each child of Thanksgiving with Emmy and Granddad in Texas on the lake, the beginning of Advent and our excursions to see bluebonnets.
On Monday, well, I honestly just did not have it together enough from our trip, so we simply started Advent Family Worship (or devotions). It is a little bit of a change-up from our normal form, but really good. If you are interested in such things, this is the packet of Bible readings, prayers and devotions we use during Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Andre also gives a blessing and catechizes the children with seasonal questions concerning the church calendar (and here is a good one for children, if you are interested). We love singing Advent hymns – although time is never sufficient for all we want to sing! I just love hearing Sophie sing — you’d think she knew all the words by heart! Jacqueline is great at the singing, too. Poor Gabriel is stuck at that point where he is reading, but not to the point of reading the unusual/larger words in hymns, or at the speed or rhythm of the hymns. Good thing he memorizes pretty well. Baby Boy just loves it when we sing. So I love that.
On Tuesday, we checked the treat before school, so that the children could look forward to it all day (and I can get everything ready for after school!). The treat was, “Decorate Jars with Christmas Candy and have some King’s Treats.” I asked them who their King was and they beautifully replied, “Jesus!” I truly believe that if you can use decorations made from things you can use (and do not have to store), it is a better investment. We always have candy on Friday for our Family Date Night (pizza and a movie) and we can put the candy in a crystal bowl and use it as a centerpiece – and as dessert when we have guests. It’s festive, fun and yum. While we were filling the jars, Jacqueline said, “Mom! This is the best Christmas ever. This is so fun! It’s better than Halloween!” Love that!
On Wednesday, the treat was: “Watch ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’” It was received thankfully enough, but I thought that they would be ecstatic to watch a movie on a school night! Oh, well.
I am excited about the rest of the week and hope I can maintain consistency with all the things I really need to do (There is so much to do in so many different areas of my life that I feel as though I am making no progress anywhere. Unfortunately, I think I feel like that because it is accurate. Good thing I have such a good hubby. He is a constant, physical reminder of Christ’s mercy, sacrifice and faithfulness. And the children! How merry they make my heart!).
Enjoy all of God’s material gifts this season as we celebrate the incarnation!
*Virtually every family tradition we have and every “idea” I have was inspired by or gotten from friends and/or blogs I read — Thanks!