One tradition our families have begun includes that of celebrating the arrival of Christmas with an Advent Calendar. And although we love the excitement and anticipation that an Advent Calendar can bring, last year we tired of making the focus on giving our kids more stuff, even if it was as simple as a small piece of candy.
So we put our heads together and decided this year we wanted to do something different. We wanted to focus on what Christmas is really about – giving and reflecting on the true meaning of this incredible holiday.
As I began to prepare for this post I did a little research on what Advent really means. It turns out that I had a lot to learn about this subject from my Catholic friends (I know Catholics aren’t the only one who celebrate Advent. They were just the ones I got my info from so I’m giving them credit.)
According to Catholicism.about.com and other sites, Advent really means “little lent” and should be a time of increased prayer, fasting (for some), good deeds, and penitence. In layman’s terms it is a time for us to take stock of our lives. To take a look inside and see if our heart is right with God. As we approach Christmas with this attitude of humbling ourself it brings us peace and joy as well as a heightened sense of anticipation.
In the spirit of Advent, this year our Advent Calendar is going to consist of doing kind things for others and cherishing the moments we have with family and friends. But most importantly it will consist of us preparing our hearts for Immanuel – God with us.
Each day from now ’til Christmas we will share with you ideas you can use to celebrate this season using the Advent Calendar. Maybe you already have an Advent Calendar tradition. Then go with it. Or maybe you are looking for new ideas. Hopefully you will find some here. Our biggest piece of advice is to do what works for you and your family. That may mean doing a handful of activities on the weekend when your family has more time to spend together and then skipping days during the week when your schedule is on overload.
You may choose to simplify the process big-time and do something as easy as pick one person a day from now ’til Christmas and pray for them. It doesn’t need to be time-consuming, stressful, or cost you anything. Do what works for you and enjoy the season with the ones you love!!
If there are things your family does or if you have an idea to share, please do so! We may even use your idea for one of our days!!
So, let’s get started!!
DaY 1 AdvEnT: Send someone a card who has lost a loved one this year letting them know you are thinking about them/praying for them.
P.S. If you don’t have an Advent Calendar, you may want to make one. Choose one of the following or find one to make on www.pinterest.com by typing “Advent Calendar” in the search box.