Five Ways to Celebrate Advent

The purpose of Advent is to spend time together making space in our hearts for God.

The season of Advent is one of my favorite times of the year. Since it’s so special, I thought it would be fun to share a few ways to celebrate it. They come from memories growing up and I have even carried some of these into my adult life. It makes this time of year beautifully unique. If you have kids, I highly recommend #3 and #5 since they were two of my favorites!

Growing up, my family would gather in the evenings and sing Christmas carols, read scripture and of course have Christmas cookies or some other treat. In the middle of a busy school or work seasons, these short moments before bed were incredibly peaceful and encouraging. We would always read through Dangerous Journey, the children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress, along with other stories. I loved this story. Well before I understood it as an allegory of the Christian walk, I feared for Christian's life when he was in danger and cheered for him when he triumphed. Lessons I learned during Advent as a child still encourage me to this day.

1. Make setting up the Nativity scene a special event. Have your children take turns sharing a bit about each character. It might be both enlightening and humorous what is shared!

2. Each day of Advent is special and unique. One way my parents liked to celebrate that with us was filling special ornaments we each had with a piece of chocolate. It made waking up each day just a little more special as a child.

3. Find Christmas books to read together. I think this one is especially meaningful for little children. I know it was for me. Each year my mom would pick a new Christmas book and read it to us. Being the fourth of six children, by the time I turned 12, I remember our little Christmas book basket had a great collection in in! I still love looking through those books when we visit.

4. Similar to the ornament treats, keeping an Advent calendar full of special ornaments or tiny presents is a sweet way to mark each day leading up to Christmas with a little spark of joy. Each of us took turns opening the small calendar doors each day. I can still feel those tiny cardboard doors in my fingers as I excitedly opened them to reveal surprises.

5. Have a short family Advent service in the evenings leading up to Christmas. They can be as small as 5 minutes or as long as you want. The purpose of Advent is to spend time together making space in our hearts for God. Share the joys and challenges of the day, pray for one another and maybe even sing a Christmas carol!

I hope this short list has something in it for your family. Even if it doesn't, just know there isn't a wrong way to celebrate Advent except to not celebrate it at all!

If you have traditions to add to this list, we'd love to hear about them! Please comment below and let's keep the celebration list going!

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