Today begins the a new season of Advent’ure’. For a few years now, I’ve started Advent with the best of intentions. I’ve never once been faithful to complete the process. Through a few years of trials and transitions for myself and our family, I’ve come to appreciate that starting something at least gives me the chance to finish it.
So I let go of the pressure to be perfect, the pressure to perform and I begin this Advent’ure’ again. No one, after all, is coming to check up on me. In my younger years I used to think that I had to do “it” (whatever “it” was) by the book. My all or nothing personality fits quite nicely into that way of thinking. But in my older and slower year, I’ve realized that something is better than nothing. We can’t do it all but we can do something. Let’s focus more on checking it into your heart rather than off of our list. Let’s give ourselves grace to be okay with something and let go of that unattainable goal of doing it all. Let’s be okay with starting it. We can’t finish something we never even start.
I giggled out loud when I recently read Lisa-Jo Baker’s comment, “Pst, there are no advent police.” This post of hers is beautifully wise regarding traditions and the Pinterest perfect pressures we place on ourselves. I hope you’ll read this. “Dear Moms of Littles – Here’s Your “*Don’t* Have To Do Holiday List” – You’re Welcome”
For several years now, I’ve been really intrigued by this whole Advent thing. Growing up Baptist (not that there’s anything wrong with that), we never really learned about it besides the chocolate calendar where you eat a piece of chocolate each day starting on December 1st. That’s a family tradition but has everything to do with chocolate and counting days on the calendar until you get to open the non-chocolate presents and nothing about the Reason we celebrate CHRISTmas at all. That being said, we do have chocolate calendars in our house each year. It’s a tradition and there is nothing wrong with traditions or chocolate calendars. In recent years, I have begun to wonder more about the real meaning of Advent. The season that for me started with chocolate but will show my heart its way to Jesus. Chocolate and Jesus??? Now there’s a match made in heaven! Sign me up!!
Here is a list of my favorite Advent resources that will help prepare our hearts for the Lord’s coming. Pick one or pick and choose from them all… like I do. If there’s such a thing as Advent ADD, I’m pretty sure I have it.
Thinking back to when my heart was stirred for Advent, it was from watching it be lived out at Ecclesia Houston. Years ago, my husband and I were both on staff at our church. Those who have been on a church staff know that often church feels like work. So we would frequent Ecclesia to worship. Chris Seay, the pastor of Ecclesia, helped author this resource. “Worship More, Spend Less, Give Presence, Love All Are you tired of how consumerism has stolen the soul of Christmas?” The concept of of having more Christ in Christmas than the Santa driven consumerism captured us and it changed the trajectory of how we approached all things Christmas. It was during this time of revelation that our family cut back on gifts for each other and gifts from Santa and began making our biggest gift to a charity organization – which for us meant that we would give more than the sum of all of our other gifts combined to the organization of our choosing. We also began really thinking through what we bought and what we gave to make sure it was with purpose. These traditions, I’m happy to report, have stuck.
This is album contains 26 songs that take us through the Advent story. It is hands down, my favorite Christmas album. I guess I have actually completed something during Advent since I often play this one on repeat. I’m fairly certain that you need it. Also check to see if the Behold the Lamb Tour is coming to a city near you. We have gone to this more times than I can count and it is always so good.
This is an Advent narrative that perfectly complements the Behold the Lamb album.
This is not necessarily Advent related but it is Christ related. We’ve had this set of ornaments since our kids were little. We look forward to bringing it out each year. I don’t recall a year when we’ve made it through all 12. But we try. I think God so loves and honors us in our trying.
This is a 4 week (Sundays during Advent) video devotional that goes along with the lighting of Heirloom Wooden Advent Wreath. I have eyed those wreaths for years but couldn’t get my hands on one. I finally did and this year I am looking forward to lighting the candle each day and following Mary’s journey to the manger where Christ would be born. Note: This wreath also comes with a cross and extensions that can be used during Lent.
This is the newest addition to my Advent’ure’ collection. It’s a gorgeous book filled with thought and meaning. I bought it on sale after Christmas last year so I’m looking forward to going through it this year.
This is a time-tested resource. There are multiple options with The Jesse Tree name on them from various authors and creators so this is just one option for you. You can get as involved in this as your Advent’ure’ as you’d like or you can keep it simple. Any way you do it, though, will help you and your family understand the roots of where Jesus came from. It is based on the scripture, Isaiah 11, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—“
Don’t have time to order a book or the will to do crafts? This online devotional is a simple way to focus on Advent with your family with kids of any ages, or even no kids.
In grabbing links for this post I ran across this devotional. It’s $.99 right now for Kindle. I happen to love anything by Max Lucado and you can’t complain about $.99!
There are countless resources at our fingertips for Advent. I’d love to know what some of your favorites are. Link to them in the comments and share why you like it. Share with us some of your most meaningful Advent’ure’s. How do you find balance during this season? How do you keep Christ in Christmas? I still consider myself a newbie in the area of Advent so I’d love to hear your Advent stories and learn from you.
Here’s to the start of a great Advent’ure’!!