"Whenever Christmas begins to burden, it's a sign that I've taken on something of the world and not of Christ" ~ Ann Voskamp
There are several things that we have chosen as a family to keep us focused on the true meaning of Christmas.
1. I am participating in the Good Morning Girls Advent Study. This is wonderful, not only for me, but it also has great ideas of things to do with your children. Of course, you light your candle each week.
This year I bought new votives instead of using my normal advent wreath and candles. In the past, I have had trouble with it making a mess so I bought new so I would not be frustrated in cleaning the mess each time we lit them. Last year, I did not light them as much because of the mess and I like them lit!
2. We also made a Names of Jesus Advent Chain. Click on the link and you can print out your FREE copy. We take a link off a day and read the passage of Scripture. This has been wonderful and I LOVE anything to do with the Names of God! The Names of God chain hangs on our Jesse Tree.
3. We have a Jesse Tree and we are using the Free download from A Holy Experience. I love this study. I printed out 2 sets of ornaments so that each child would have their own. I laminated them so that we could use them year after year. I love how it starts at the beginning with creation. It is a little above my children's level, but I do it first myself and then with the kids later in a kid version. She recommends putting on one ornament a day, but my 2 year old wanted to go ahead and put on some of his ornaments. I figure it doesn't matter as long as they are hearing the Word and focusing on Christ. If you have never been to Ann Voskamp's website, you will fall in love with it! This has been my inspiration for Christmas gifts this year. Most everyone I know will be getting "Gratitude Journals." I will post more about those later. LOVE LOVE her and her site!
4. We have a cutout for each child to simply color a number of the date in a countdown until Jesus' birthday. I did not do as this suggested because we are doing this for fun and it keeps them focused on the real reason for the season. You can find the printout here.
5. We also have a Advent felt calendar that has pieces you add each day until Christmas that makes the navity. This is simply for fun, but again keeps the focus on Christ.
6. We will start to use "What God Wants for Christmas" one week before Christmas. I am SOOOOOO excited about this. Each year, I have done this with my kids and in the last couple of years with my nieces and nephews, but it was a lot of wrapping, etc. I found this cute neat set all done for me! I am excited to be able to use it! I love how it ends! God simply wants our heart. Our whole heart! Wow! Love it!
I know this seems like a lot, but it is not bad. I feel that for me to help my children stay focused on Christ during this time, I must stay focused on Christ FIRST. So, part of this is just a natural flow of our day anyway. We are on break from our "normal" homeschool schedule and this takes the place of our normal Bible Time.
With a world so full of the "other stuff," we have to be intentional about helping our kids stay focused on the true meaning. We do have fun also. We love the Christmas parades (we missed the ones we had planned to go to this weekend because of sick kids.), we love looking at Christmas lights, watching Hallmark Christmas movies, and talking to Santa.
This is a few of my favorite Christmas decorations...
I got this nativity after our first Christmas on clearance. I love the verses on each figurine!
This was our nativity our first Christmas from my mom. I love it and will always have it sitting out!
I would LOVE to hear how you keep your family focused on Christ during the Christmas season. Please share!