The Advent season is upon us, and in our home, we have a few special traditions.
Each evening, the children join Michael and me on the couch where we sing either "O Come All Ye Faithful" or "Hark the Herald Angels." I have made a "song book" for each member of the family by printing lyrics on card stock and stapling the sheets together.
Next, Michael reads one page from The Advent Book by Jack and Cathy Stockman. In this beautifully illustrated book, each page is drawn to resemble the front of a church, and the church door "opens" to reveal the text. There is one page for each night of Advent, and each page tells part of the Christmas story. I have placed this book in my Shelfari in the sidebar for those interested in a closer look.
Afterward, the boys alternate turns finding the ornament for the night on our Jesse tree. I do not have a separate tree for this, but place the ornaments on our Christmas tree. Each night, we tell the boys which story of the Bible is the spotlight story. Then they tell us what they know about the event and find the ornament. Michael then reads a corresponding verse or Bible passage.
The ornaments we own were acquired at discount stores, most costing only $1, or we made them ourselves. We crafted an empty tomb out of clay and constructed Jacob's ladder from craft sticks. I only buy or make about four ornaments per year, so we use cards from the Bible game Redemption for those stories for which we do not own an ornament.
Our Variety of Handmade, Store-Bought
and Redemption Card Ornaments
Inside each pocket of the Advent calendar pictured to the left, I have placed pieces of candy and a slip of paper containing a memory verse. Each morning, the boys remove the paper from the pocket for the day and work on memorizing it in time for family worship. After our Jesse Tree time, they state the verse for the day and receive the candy.
We end our Advent observance with prayer and another Christmas hymn.
I so enjoy this season of family worship. It is simple to accomplish, has created lasting memories for our children and for us and keeps us focused on the only reason for the season, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.