Hooray!  It’s finally time!  Brian and I have been thinking and talking a lot about Christmas for the past several months.  We knew that it was definitely time to decide what our family traditions were going to be (we decided a few last year but Daniel was only 9 months old so it didn’t seem that urgent).  In preparation for our discussions, I read Treasuring God in Our Traditions and Brian read some specific chapters at my request.  I also talked some with my friend Pam about some ideas that I had and got her feedback.  In the end, we decided to do these few things that we pray will focus our Christmas on Christ more than ever before and give us opportunities to minister to the people with whom we come in contact with during this season.

The biggest change is that we are celebrating Advent this year, which is something that neither of us have ever done before.  Advent started yesterday (4 Sundays before Christmas) and is a memorial to the time of waiting that God’s people endured between the time of the promise to Abraham until its fulfillment in Christ our Saviour.  Brian is preparing a scripture for each night (at least the ones that we’re home for) and he reads it before dinner, followed by prayer and the lighting of the appropriate number of candles.  It is a good reminder to us what a blessing it is to live on this side of Bethlehem and Calvary and to have all of God’s plan revealed to us in scripture.

We also decided to take out our nativities first on Thanksgiving Day and talk with Daniel about how Christ’s coming to die is our most important reason to be thankful.  Then we decorate the rest of the house on the day after Thanksgiving.

This might not happen this year, with Jack’s arrival, but it is my goal to do a “Jesus-related” Christmas activity with Daniel each day of December.  Some days this will probably be as simple as reading a book or coloring a picture but we hope that having 31 days of Jesus will outweigh the few days (we have a big family) of gifts.

I hope that whether you have kids or not, that you make small (or large) efforts this year to remember why we celebrate Christmas.