Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Advent Devotions

I love holidays, especially Christmas.  And, honestly, I enjoy a lot of activities that have little or nothing to do with the birth of Jesus... Christmas lights, hanging stockings, making cookies, etc.  And I don't feel one little bit guilty about it either :0)  I think building joy into the holiday, through traditions like these, builds happy memories and enhances our celebration.

But, I do want to be deliberate about keeping our focus on Jesus, so I was glad to find this:

For the third year in a row, we've been using Ann Hibbard's Family Celebrations at Christmas as the basis for our Advent Devotions, and we'll probably get one more year out if it, before we move on to something else.  The book contains two year's worth of devotions (December 1 - 24, so we adjust a bit, based on the first Sunday of Advent), as well as instructions for making an advent wreath, which we already have, and a Jesse tree and ornaments, which we've skipped.

I have to admit, this felt awkward at first, because we'd never done anything like it before, but I'm glad we persevered.  The boys got used to it :0)  They participate, they're eager to light the candles, and they even sing, which I love.

Each day's devotion takes only about 10 minutes.  They include a short introduction or story, a Bible reading, a few questions about the Bible reading, an explanation (of where the author was intending to go with the questions), a prayer, and a suggested Christmas carol that goes along with the day's theme.

We've skipped the whole Jesse tree and ornament because it felt redundant, but some kids might really like that.  There are also additional verses for reflection, intended for adults or older kids, which we've sometimes included and sometimes skipped.

I'm glad we found her books.  (She has similar devotions for Easter, Thanksgiving, and All Saints' Day.)  Though they're written for younger kids, they've held Wyatt's attention to and been a simple way to ease into family devotions.

I didn't this year, but last year posted several times about what we were reading in our devotions.  If you're interested you can read through last December's posts.


The Hibbard Family said...

I picked up Family Celebrations (which has all the holidays in one book) from a yard sale simply because it had my name on it (heehee - people have asked me before if I'm the same Ann Hibbard). I had intended to use it this Christmas, but forget in the move chaos - and Doug had something else planned for Advent this year. But, I'm looking forward to getting it out next year starting with Valentine's Day. It's nice to know that someone has used her Advent devotionals and liked them.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Ann, that's too funny! I didn't put it together that it could be you!!!

Colleen said...

The Advent season is, unfortunately, overlooked in our culture and in the Reformed and evangelical church. Glad you've found ways to integrate it into your season!