Monday, November 29, 2010

T'is the reason for the season.

With Thanksgiving officially behind us, we collectively put our feet firmly in the starting gates and prepare for the sprint towards Christmas. It is inevitable -- the holiday rush. The hustle and bustle of shopping and decorating and parties and presents and food. Oh, the food! It is a wonderful, albeit busy, time of year. 

Every year we talk about slowing down and remembering the reason for the season. Our family makes every attempt to include Christ in our Christmas. But it does not happen without deliberate planning and forethought. 
via Simply the Sweet Life
Sunday was the first day in Advent. Our church has traditionally made advent chains for the youth. Our family enjoys reading the verse every night and allowing the excitement to build as the story is told -- the story of Christ's coming into the world -- and the anticipation -- not of gifts under a tree, but of Christ's return. 

When I realized we did not bring home the customary chain yesterday I searched the internet and found a myriad of possibilities. The chain can be made of plain copy paper, construction paper, or {I love this idea} wrapping paper scraps. You can decorate it with sticker or drawings or whatever suits your children's ages and abilities. 

To begin, cut {or let your children cut} 25 links. Number each link 1-25 and on each link write a different theme and scripture reference {suggestions below}. Remove one link each day during Advent, using the scripture for family devotions and the theme as a focus for prayer. It's a handy way to count off the days until Christmas and learn more about the real meaning of the holiday.

Christmas is...
1. A TIME OF SHARING - Read John 3:1-21
2. A TIME OF MEMORIES - Read Luke 1:68-79
3. A TIME FOR GREETINGS - Read Luke 1:39-55
4. A TIME FOR CHARITY - Read Matthew 25:31-40
5. A TIME FOR VISITING - Read Romans 15:1-7
6. A TIME OF HOPE - Read John 14:1-6
7. A TIME OF FAITH - Read Isaiah 55:6-11
8. A TIME OF PROMISE - Read Galatians 3:23-4:7
9. A TIME FOR CANDLES - Read John 11-14
10. A TIME FOR MUSIC - Read Psalm 150
11. A TIME FOR BEING IN TOUCH - Read John 15:1-11
12. A TIME OF RUSHING - Read Luke 10:38-42
13. A TIME FOR SINGING - Read Colossians 3:12-17
14. A TIME FOR FAMILY - Read Luke 1:5-80
15. A TIME FOR DECORATIONS - Read Psalm 118:19-29
16. A TIME FOR BAKING - Read John 6:32-40
17. A TIME FOR LOVE - Read 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
18. A TIME OF SOLITUDE - Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
19. A TIME FOR REMEMBERING - Read Isaiah 25:6-9
20. A TIME OF PEACE - Read Matthew 11:25-30
21. A HOLIDAY - Read Hebrews 4:9-16
22. A TIME TO GIVE THANKS - Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
23. A TIME OF BLESSING - Read Ephesians 3:14-21
24. A TIME FOR GIFTS - Read Ephesians 2:4-10
25. GOD WITH US - Read Luke 2:1-20

For younger children you may want to try this Nativity Chain that introduces each figure in the Nativity story.

Do you have any family traditions that help you focus on the reason for the season?  If so, please share!!

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