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.