Friday, November 23, 2012

advent. do it this year.


i'm bossy, like the song.

but only because i think advent is important to participate in. why? because inside much of the tinsel and cheery decorations, is a season so full of materialism and greed. we desperately need to reflect on why it is we actually celebrate Christmas.

the problem with christmas is that we tell our kids that it's all about Jesus, and then make it all about them and all about us. what they want...what we want. how to act a certain way to get what they want. i don't love this thing that we're doing with Christmas. and i'm not saying everyone should do christmas the exact same way, the way i'm doing it with my family.
i'm not saying don't do santa or to throw out all the traditions.
nope.
just be thoughtful. ask God to be King in your holiday, not just lurking in the shadows of a few songs or decorations. ask Him to help you change things that need to be changed. ask to see Him this year, not things. not decorations. not the best sale. HIM.

the God who came as a baby, called Jesus and changed the world and save mankind from themselves.


start small even. one year, i was overwhelmed with the thought of advent so i only did 12 days. it was a great start for us. the kids were little and they didn't want to sit for longer than 2 minutes, so this worked perfect for us.

that year i made 12 paper rings, numbered them and wrote out a quick 12 day advent devotional  it is full of misspellings and grammatical errors, but it will work.



i made them again this year just for decorations. we're going colorful this year! but if you use them for advent, number them 1-12 (or use the printable below)and break off one of the chains each night after you read the verse.

update: i'm so excited to announce that i am a part of an amazing advent devotional called Counting the Days, Lighting the Candles: A Christmas Advent Devotional by elyse fitzpatrick and jessica thompson. let's get real, i have a super small part in this book...i was in charge of the weekly advent activities. but whatever. happy to be working with these two gospel centered and gifted ladies.


having a nativity scene out is a great way to reference what you're reading and talking about. pen and paint made this adorable nativity set for us last year and i will keep it forever and ever amen.

i don't think she makes these anymore though! perhaps you could harass her.

you can also do this with 12 socks and put a treat, or a piece of paper that tells the kids what bible story to read inside each one.


(you can print these numbers by clicking on the picture)



last year we did  anne voskamp's advent guide and it was so awesome. i did a co-op with 24 other women and each made 24 of the same ornaments, then traded. i can't recommend this enough. we read the stories in The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name(that correlated with the guide above) for the visual aspect and it drove the point him.  but if you're thinking it's too late, you can always make your own ornaments that morning and hang them that night. for my free bird spirit, i need a little more structure than that. but, it doesn't need to be anything crazy! even use the chains above but number them 1-24 and follow anne's guide. or remember this idea for next year... write it on the tablet of your heart and start gathering some ladies now to participate next year.

thenatos.com

anyway, we put these ornaments on a separate little advent tree and the kids were thrilled about each night. after they put the ornament on the tree, they did a scavenger hunt and found a small piece of candy or note saying, put your shoes on! we're going to do something fun! and then we'd go get ice cream. or go sit at the table and get ready to paint! they loved this. and we all had fun.

layne keeps asking when ad-a-ment (advent)starts and it makes my heart happy. we actually are adamant about doing christmas differently this year and it starts by focusing on what's really important, not the many changes we're making regarding gift giving. i'll write about that later. you'll think we're nutso, i'm sure.

24 comments:

  1. Going to make this happen this year! Do you know where I can find instructions on making the ornaments?

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    1. the gals that i exchanged with just read their devotional for the day and came up with their own ornament. each one is so unique. it's awesome.

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  2. I love this. I have a 1 yr old and am so eager to find some meaningful traditions to integrate into our future family Christmases.

    Bless you, Jami!!

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    1. it really is important to start young. makes a huge difference. i read a george barna stat that said kids make their values and morals by age 6!!

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  3. Lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove everything you've written, expressed, intimated, and left unsaid here. Yes, and amen. Advent is big in our house too. We do one gift for each kid and stockings. It's always been a big gift though. This year, we're thinking smaller..we're thinking outward...

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    1. yes! outward = goodward. what ? yes, made up a word.

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  4. These are all such awesome ideas, Jami! I've always loved Advent; thanks for sharing.

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  5. I love the idea of different way of gift giving! My daughter will be One next week and I'm making a really small party only for the grandparents and an aunt... I don't want her flooded with presents... it's overwhelming and unnecessary I think... Same thing for Christmas, so am looking forward to finding out how you'll be doing it!
    (am loving your blog by the way... just found it...)

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    1. ours is the same way..it gets so absurd. and then everyone is bored the next couple of days...even with all their new gifts. ugg. gross.

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  6. Love these wonderful ideas, Jami. Thanks for sharing...with a little one at home, I want to get important and meaningful holiday traditions started. This looks like a great one to start.

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    1. it really is important to start young. makes a huge difference. i read a george barna stat that said kids make their values and morals by age 6!!

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  7. Thanks for the great ideas on this...I told myself I will finally do an advent activity of some sort with my little ones this year!! I like to keep things simple, so these sound like a good place to start for this year :)
    I can't wait to hear about your gift giving changes!! I told my husband that what makes sense to me is that we celebrate Jesus on Christmas and a good time to get gifts for our kids is on their birthdays when we celebrate the day God blessed us with them!! Luckily, our budget is so tight that they aren't used to getting a lot of gifts anyway ;)

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    1. i know, sometimes the budget helps us look in a different direction than we normally would. i would say that's a blessing in disguise!

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  8. I'm upset that she doesn't make those anymore because I absolutely LOVE that Nativity set. We have one, but I think my son would enjoy the "hands-on-ability" {not a word, clearly} of these.

    Thank you for some wonderful ideas.

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    1. isn't she rude?! lol. they take a lot of time i'm sure...there are some at bubba basics on etsy but it's not the whole set. :(

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  9. Love this Jamie! Actually been racking my brain of how to do advent this year. It's the first year I think Caleb will understand a little so I've got to get something going ;) thanks!

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  10. Finally got my crap together this year, somewhat. Excited to do a real advent from the beginning! Great ideas sister.

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  11. I tried Anne's situation last year and was overwhelmed. I want 23 friends to do it with. What a great idea. I may have to drum that up. And as far as gift giving, I initiated a new plan this year and spent 30 minutes last night explaining to a family member who does think we are crazy. The more they think I'm crazy the more I want to do crazy stuff. This southern calif world we live in needs a little "crazy". I'm adamant too. Life's too short and my kids are mine to impress upon for a very short time. Looking forward to your post.

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  12. I am doing Advent for the first time with my three year old. I have a list of fun things planned, more than half of the days we will be reading Christmas books that I've put away. I've printed your list to use for the other days, so we can get some scripture in on say, the days we bake cookies or heck, watch Elf. Thank you for sharing it. I enjoy your blog and your twisted sense of humor (what was that line from a couple weeks ago? Something about trying out a new fashion at church, where everyone is so accepting, or something like that? I'm still giggling about that one.)

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  13. Grrr....I just typed and lost a big ol' comment... Anyway, thanks for sharing this, I'm going to use your list to supplement my Advent activities. Perfect for my three year old. And I wanted to say I enjoy your blog and your sense of humor (and I'm still giggling from a couple weeks ago when you said something about trying a new fashion at church where they are so accepting....zinger!!!)

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  14. This is a great idea! I have been thinking of doing this, but it was looking very overwhelming! I am thankful that you posted the pics of your ornaments & the 12 days guide. This is something that I am definitely going to do. This will also give me some time to get things in order! Thanks so much for this wonderful and helpful post!! NEW FOLLOWER FOR SURE!!!!

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  15. i knew i liked you. 12 days seems so much more reasonable/less overwhelming than 24. thank you. i just may be able to get past good intentions and do advent this year after all.

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