Saturday, December 1, 2012

Putting Christ Back in Christmas

I have always loved advent calendars and doing fun activities with Harvey... but somehow I kind of missed incorporating the real meaning of the season into our month long adventures together. I mean, we always do the nativity at our annual Christmas Eve party with Justin's family, but we desperately needed something more. I have felt inspired and have been working on our Christmas Devotionals since September. I can't wait for Christmas this year! Not because of gifts or Santa or even homemade caramels, but to teach my little ones about the most important thing they could know: that their Savior was born, and that He gave them the most precious gifts of all.

First, I was inspired by Jen Lund, who does her own rendition of a Jesse Tree with a devotional and special ornament for each day of the month. I loved the idea of unwrapping a symbol or piece of the story each night, but I wanted to stick to the story and characters of the nativity instead of the traditional christian Jesse Tree subjects. She has shared her devotionals (scroll down to her Christmas section), and I've incorporated several of them into our devotional advent.

Then, I found A Christ-Centered Christmas by Emily Freeman. I loved how she came up with a special message and tradition for each of the figures in the nativity. She chose 7, and I added several more.

Last, I found this adorable advent story book set. This year we are going to use it as the foundation for our devotionals, talking about or expounding upon several characters or subjects in each mini book. I did switch a couple of the days around to better suit my family, but for the most part it flows perfectly. I bought a 2-foot Christmas tree, and we will hang all of the mini books (and a couple of other ornaments that go with devotionals) on it. For a little more than half of the days we will do something in addition to reading the mini book. Some of the days have a devotional, other days we will read a children's Christmas story that pertains to that day, or do a simple activity. For each of these days, I have a tiny figure to add to our Christmas scene.

My intention is to introduce each character in the nativity and share their story. Granted, the only sure information we have is from the scriptures, so I have taken liberties with some of the characters (like the innkeeper..). But every character has their own special message to encourage us to come unto Christ - just like they journeyed or searched to find that baby in a manger so long ago.

I'll be back each day (well, the days we do more than just the mini story book) to share what we have done. I can't wait to get started!!

Here are the links to my devotionals...
The Evergreen Tree
The Donkey
The Star
The Wise Men
The Camel
The Innkeeper
Baby Jesus
The Shepherds (coming soon)
The Angel (coming soon)
The Lamb (coming soon)

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