The turkey and pie have been eaten, and the fall foliage has given way to holly and mistletoe. It is official; Christmastime is here. (Contrary to what the retail industry would have you believe, it does not start in October!)
The weeks leading up to Christmas have always been my favorite time of year: the decorations, the shopping, the baking, the singing, the overall merriment that surrounds every routine activity. I love it all.
When we started our family, we committed to use every opportunity to teach our children about God and His Word. What better opportunity to do so than at Christmas? While we have worked to establish Christ-centered traditions surrounding Christmas and Christmas Eve, I have to admit the days leading up to The Event are often more focused on what needs to be done and whose gift still needs to be purchased.
I have no one else to blame except myself. I become so consumed with the “to-dos” and “to-buys” of the season, it’s only when Oh Holy Night or Mary, Did You Know? comes on the radio that I stop to think about Christ. Then it’s back to my lists and my errands as quickly as the song ends. Or, I wait until we sit down on Christmas Eve to read the Nativity story before all comes back into perspective.
This year, I am committing to change that…both for myself and my family. Yes, there are many things to be done, but by taking a few moments each day to focus on Christ and what Christmas is truly about, I’m hoping to keep it all in perspective this year. (And my family said, “AMEN!”)
So I was pretty excited when a friend told me about this Advent Bible study. I did not grow up participating in Advent. As a matter of fact, I’ve only learned about it in the last few years and to be honest, I didn’t get it at first…it seemed (to me) to be a rather empty, ritualistic tradition. But I’m realizing that taking the time daily to focus on Christ may be the key to keeping Him at the center of the season; the key, of course, is to truly focus on Him, not the routine or tradition. I’m looking forward to learning more through this study, and most importantly, rediscovering daily the grace of the season.
The free, e-book study began on Monday, but it’s not too late if you’d like to join me in it. You can get all the info here. (If you do, leave me a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear how it goes!)
I’m also excited to read this book with my kids. It’s one of a 3-volume set and follows a young boy, Jotham, on his search for his family. On the way, he meets shepherds, wise men, and ultimately a young baby born in a stable. I’ve heard it’s a great story to help kids look past the decorations, cookies, and presents and realize the true meaning of celebration.
What about you? Do you participate in Advent? What other pre-Christmas traditions do you have?