Today’s book was a great one for David. I mentioned earlier that he’s a big fan of Rosemary Wells’ characters Max and Ruby. So it can’t get much better than this for him as far as Christmas books go.
I mentioned earlier that we do a Jesse Tree for Advent. I also like to have an Advent wreath that we light at night. I keep the wreath itself fairly simple, and therefore boy-proof. I use big pillar candles on a glass plate. I know that there are supposed to be three purple, one pink and a white in the center but I always have a hard time finding the big candles in those colors. I used to stress about this but decided that like the Jesse Tree, it’s more important to do it than to not do it because it’s not perfect. So now typically we use three white candles, one red (or pink if I can find it) and a center candle that is somehow special (this year it’s gold). I don’t put greens or other decoration but I do put some miniature Nativity figures we have around the bases of the candles. It’s pretty simple if not all that pretty. But it is child friendly, which is what I’m going for. The boys like having the candles at night and they like fighting over taking turns at blowing out the candles. I tell you all this detail to emphasize the point that you can make Advent traditions work for you and your family. Just do it.
I’ve tried different things for what we do when we light the candles. I’ve found some Advent readings in the past online that were either too simple or way too long for our age of children. We’ve done the Jesse Tree readings along with the Advent candles but dinner-time tends to be more chaotic for us and so the Jesse Tree just works better in the morning.
This year I’m really happy with these Advent devotions I found. They are from Christ the King PCA church in Raleigh, NC. I found them by searching around online although the church happens to be the same denomination as ours. They have two different devotionals on-line that you can download and print out. I chose the one that had 18 devotions which is nice because it gives us 4-5 readings a week through Advent. This way when we miss a night (as we inevitably do) we don’t feel like we’re “behind”. The devotions themselves are short enough for the kids to sit through, but thoughtful enough that I feel like I’m learning new things. Each devotion also has a hymn that goes with it, the print out of the music and lyrics is part of the download and you can also access audio files of the hymns on their website. There is a second devotional that only has 6 readings (one per week of Advent, one for Christmas and one for Epiphany) if you prefer something even simpler. It’s a great resource that I highly recommend.