Over the last couple of weeks I have really been thinking about Christmas and how our family celebrates. For most of my childhood and early adult years I knew that Christmas was a celebration of the wonderful gift God gave to us in Jesus, but what it really stood for was presents - how much are we going to spend on each person, and what did I want! I do not want that to be the focus of our Christmas celebration this year. So....some changes are being made!
Until this year, I had heard the term Advent but was not sure exactly what it meant. I grew up in church but this was not something we practiced/observed officially. I have been doing a little research :) and in my words, Advent is a celebration of the birth of Jesus that begins on December 1 and lasts through Christmas. I know that Advent is celebrated in different ways by different people with wreaths/calendars/etc and within different time frames. For our family, we are going to begin the celebration today and read a verse from the Bible each day through Christmas Eve. I found these wonderful Daily Bible Verse Advent Cards over at Happy Home Fairy.
I would like each day to also include something fun for the family to do together...an act of service for others, make a garland, bake cookies to give away. Any other good ideas?
Another change we are making is in the gift giving department. This year I want the gifts that I give to mean something to the recipient. I want them to know that I really put some thought into their gift. Over on Honey Bee Buzz, Melissa was talking about gifts for Christmas. Some of the ideas included....
1. Give each child four gifts - something they want, need, wear, and read.
2. Give each child three gifts to symbolize the three gifts the wise men gave to Jesus
one for Gold - garment/clothing
one for Frankincense - fun
one for Myrrh - mind
3. Each child gets three presents - one from mom, one from dad, and one from Santa
We are leaning toward the four gifts, but I really like the symbolization of the Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. I am also attempting to make many of the gifts we are giving this year, which should get an interesting response!
Overall, I just want my kids to understand what the season is really about. Yes, I think it should be fun because it is a celebration! But I want their focus to be on thankfulness, for the wonderful Gift and gifts that God has provided for them.