It is Christmas Week.
Sweet scent of mint chocolate is rising in the air.
Christmas music serenades.
It is Anticipation Week.
The children can hardly stand the days that seem to creep by.
Our Advent studies fell back on sweet and simple. I downloaded (well- actually Todd downloaded- twice- in town) a free, beautiful, daily Jesse Tree devotional complete with ornaments- and we started faithfully. But due to several mishaps- had to set it aside for this year. I am hoping for next year. It was so beautiful to trace Jesus through the Bible and the picture ornaments really reinforce the learning.
Years ago now- more than several- but not a decade ago- 😉 I was part of an email loop for Christian homeschoolers and was “woken” to the beauty of the advent candles. I read a very wise lady’s advice (Tina Farewell- if that rings any bells) as she shared their very sweet and simple adaptation of the Advent wreath.
I put ideas into practice immediately and we have been celebrating Advent ever since.
This year- we began the tradition of decorating our tree and getting out all of our decorations on Advent Sunday. This was in hopes of keeping our hearts toward Christ for the entire Advent month. How well did we do? I am not sure- but that was the intention. We also tried to begin the Jesse Tree. I decided last year that I really wanted to begin that with my children… but I mentioned the fail of that plan for this year.
Our Advent is very simple and our candles are red and white- symbolizing the purity and blood of Christ. We light a total of four crimson votives (starting with one and adding each Sunday)and then on Christmas Eve- light all four and a tall white pillar candle as well. We sing special Christmas Carols and read Scripture passages I printed and keep in a Holiday Binder. We enjoy Christmas cookies and a special, reflective time.
We also love to use FamilyLife Adornaments every year- but this always gets scrunched in due to tax season. We are behind with this as well- and will probably be hanging all 12 of them tomorrow night. But they are beautiful symbols of the Names of Jesus- like Lamb of God, Lion of Judah, The Door.
We have created lots of crafts, done some baking, practiced for a Christmas drama, and tried to focus on the Lord.
I have done a lot of reflecting and will be hopefully tweaking some things with the New Year and advent back into our school routine.
We are preparing our Christmas Eve and Day menus and I look forward to Christmas Eve when Todd and I hang out together and wrap and prepare and have our own rituals.
My Christmas Cookie list turned out to be too ambitious- and we just made Snickerdoodles, Cut-Outs, Brownie Cups, and Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip (yum). My favorite Sugar Cookies- just didn’t happen. Ah well.
Tonight- we attempt a shopping trip with all the children so they can pick a gift for their secret gift exchange with each other. Hopefully we will survive with sweetness intact and then off to pick up those last minute grocery items.
So- that is Christmas week here. I hope Christmas week- there- wherever there might be for you, my friend, is filled with sweetness and that you can stand against the stress and craziness that seems to steal the wonder, joy, and LIFE right out of the season.
Blessings and Grace from me to you,