Woot! It's the first Sunday in Advent...and we are ON IT.
Years ago, I created an index for "All Things Advent" - rather than writing about our traditions year after year. I've not added to it in recent years - and our "Christmas" has changed again...but if you're looking for helpful tips you may want to check it out. Be sure to check out the link to Stacia's Deployment Christmas Photos, our Family Photo Shoot of 2007 and the Daddy Bear links....some of my favorites. LOL I'll leave the link at the top of the side bar through Advent.
Basically, we quit focusing on receiving gifts years ago. On their birthdays we celebrate the kids. We try to keep our focus on celebrating Jesus during this season. We focus on Advent. We do NOT give gifts on the 25th. We have a great, big party for Jesus. Throughout the season, we prepare gifts for the party. Christmas Shopping is about pigs, and wells and mosquito nets. We typically have a family gift exchange on 1 January - because we can't wait until 6 January and because Michael has that time off and we are looking for fun things to do that night. We do adjust as older kids come home, so we can have a family gift exchange whenever they land at home.
With all that said - we DO LOVE THE ADVENT SEASON!
devotional we plan to use this year. (We'd also like to run through Jotham's Journey, but I'm not sure how it will fit).
This little book has daily devotional readings for each day of Advent and the twelve days of Epiphany. It incorporates both our Advent Wreath and Nativity. Each day has a Scripture reading, a "Think About It" section, a prayer focus and a hymn to sing.
I suspected this would be a bit of a challenge. The kids are old enough to work through a devotional, but the family sing-alongs might be a challenge.
Sure enough we loved the focus on the Promises of God. All the kids were able to share their insights. I especially loved when we all shared a promise from God that was specifically meaningful to us. As we shared stories or verses from the Bible, one shared, "God has promised us we'll be going back to Japan. He's confirmed it." WOW....yes, He has....and it was good for us to hear this from our children tonight.
Then came the singing. We miss BreAnne - that girl can SANG! "What a Friend We Have In Jesus," never sounded this joyful before - I'm quite sure. I was belting it out when Michael just couldn't handle it a MOMENT LONGER.....he tapped my leg and helpfully shared, "Hon - it's in a minor key."
To which I blissfully replied, "I'm just singing from my spirit, Michael."
"Well, sing from the spirit in a F minor."
And before I could reply, Arielle popped in with, "Let's all sing in the spirit. From your spirit now...."
We did have a great, rousing start to Advent.
Living all of life before the face of God...