Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is derived from the Latin word advenio, ‘to come to’ and refers to the coming of Christ. During this time we are joyfully preparing for the coming of Christ. There are three ‘comings’ we are preparing for. First, our celebration of Christ’s birth on Christmas day, second, to the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion and third, to His second coming at the end of time. There are many ways and resources out there to help us prepare.
There are some things our family does every year to celebrate Advent—the Advent wreath, chocolate Advent calendars, Nativity scenes, the Jesse tree, an Advent chain, and, yes, the dreaded Elf on the Shelf. You can read all about these activities on my blog post from last year here.
This year our elf, Charlie, brought a friend with him. I thought it was cute since our new pup is a Saint Bernard!
And there are a few new things for this year:
I bought a new book for the kids this year, Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent. We will read a chapter a night during Advent. It’s about a ten year old boy, Jotham, who is searching for his family in Israel. He comes across thieves, robbers and kidnappers along the way. But also meets the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until he finally meets the Savior born in Bethlehem.
And I bought the Advent Storybook for my grandkids. In this book, Benjamin Bear is eagerly awaiting Christmas and to help the time pass his mother tells him a story every day when he opens the door on his Advent calendar. There are twenty four stories about another little bear and his journey to Bethlehem. Each of the stories is only a page long which is great for the little ones who can’t sit still for too long.
I purchased the Good Deed Manger Activity set for my friend’s daughter. The purpose is to teach kids to think about the good things they can do and not the good things they can get. There’s a picture book that tells the story of Jesus’ birth through the eyes of Jordan, the donkey whose manger was used for Jesus’ bed. By doing good deeds they earn hay that they can put on the manger and the more good deeds they do the more hay for the manger so Baby Jesus will have a cozy bed on Christmas morning.
I found this Names of Jesus Advent countdown that you can print out. I love countdown chains AND it’s a great way to praise and get to know some of Jesus’ various titles AND it has the scripture verse so you can read in the bible where that particular title came from. LOVE IT!
One of my favorite Advent traditions is the Nativity scene. I already have several but my plan is to purchase a new one every year. Last year I purchased this printable peg doll Nativity set and also bought all the supplies (the pegs and Modge Podge and brushes) but never got around to actually making the peg dolls. So, this year we are going to make it and that will be my ‘new’ Nativity scene for this year!
My kids love the Chime Travelers books by Lisa M. Hendey. In her newest one, The Strangers at the Manger, the twins go on a Chime Travel adventure in Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph. It’s on my list to get!
I think that’s enough to keep us busy for the next four weeks…AND focused on the reason for the season!