Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A is for Announcement

A is for Announcement

Light your first Advent Candle

Scripture Reference: Luke 1:26-38 ; Matthew 1:18-25

Key figures to discuss: Angel Gabriel, Mary, Joseph

Possible small gifts: Small advent calendar with numbered doors to open each day in December, a Christmas t-shirt, or card
making kit.

Activities for the week: Decorate the house, make and send Christmas cards, allow each child to have a small Christmas tree or decoration in their room.

Other: We have shared the Scripture passages in different ways over the years. Recently I discovered a great product called What God Wants For Christmas:

It is produced by FamilyLife, a ministry of Campus Crusade For Christ and includes a nativity set that is broken into 7 small presents, a stable and a read aloud story book. We use the first 3 small boxes for Advent Week 1, and then one box each for the next 4 weeks. One thing my children love is that we hide the boxes and they have to find them. We let one child hide it, one find it, and one open it. The Christmas story is written as a poem and holds the attention of even small children. The neatest box is opened on Christmas Eve....and is the answer to the question, "What does God want for Christmas?" I won't spoil it, but it is a beautiful way to share the true meaning of the coming of the Christ child.

Looking Forward,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ABC Advent

Welcome A Soft Place To Land Blog Friends! I am so glad to share this DIY Advent Project with you! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! I am posting each Wednesday for the next Advent. So be sure to check out the first two weeks that have already posted, and come back for the rest of the celebration!

Seven years ago last month we moved across the country with our then 3 year old daughter. I was expecting our second child 2 days after Christmas which was only 8 weeks away! I knew in my heart that we would not be going 'home for Christmas.' It was now up to us to create family Christmas memories. I began praying that God would give me a unique idea for our family to celebrate Christmas. My husband and I had talked many times about how we wanted Christmas to be more than just a one day present fest! We wanted to build the excitement and celebrate the entire month. We wanted to make memories that would last far beyond their growing up years.

I came across a great article in a Better Homes and Garden magazine about the celebration of Advent. I loved the idea of gathering our little ones each of the 4 Sunday's between Thanksgiving and Christmas to anticipate the 'coming' of the baby Jesus. But, our children were very young and I was not sure they would understand the more traditional version of Advent.

One sleepless night, God gave me the simplest idea that we have now celebrated for 7 years at our home. We call it ABC Advent. I would love to share it with you and hopefully inspire you to begin a tradition yourself. I have shared this with a few other mom's and they have also started to celebrate it as well. Please feel free to use this during your celebration this year!

1st Sunday after Thanksgiving: A - Announcement
2nd Sunday - B - Baby Born in Bethlehem
3rd Sunday - C - Choirs of Angels Sing
4th Sunday - D - Down on one knee
Christmas Eve - E - Emanuel - God is with us

I made a very simple Advent Wreath with 4 candles on the outside of the the circle and placed one white large candle in the center. The center candle is called the Christ Candle. Each week we light one outside candle along with the candles from the previous weeks. On Christmas Eve we light the Christ candle and all the candles. I have used the same Christ Candle for each of the past 7 years. In addition to sharing the scripture passage surrounding each "letter" we give our children a small present.

I will be posting each week in December about each 'letter' and few other ideas that I have incorporated along the way throughout our years of celebrating Advent. For now, I wanted to give you a head's up if you wanted to gather a few things and join us this year for ABC Advent.

All you need is:
  1. A wreath
  2. 4 - candles ( I use red taper candles)
  3. 1 - large white pillar candle
  4. A nativity set is helpful
  5. A Bible

Looking Forward,

P.S. I am connecting to A Soft Place To Land DIY Day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude

Have you ever began a journey just sure that God had called you to it, only to find yourself in the midst of great tribulation and testing? Did you wonder, "Did I miss something Lord? Why would you lead me this way only to watch me struggle so much within Your plan?"

I read somewhere that after the Pilgrim's landed in their new homeland that they first gave thanks. They recited together the words from Psalm 100:

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the Lord is good. His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations.

So after persecutions, relocating more than once with their families, and a journey that nearly killed them all - they arrived to a land that was raw and beautiful and filled with challenges. Yet they stopped to praise and thank God for his goodness and His faithfulness. Their attitude was to be grateful no matter what. God had a plan for them that included blessings and trials alike.

Thanksgiving did not start out as a one time feast after the first harvest. It began in the hearts of a group of people who decided ahead of time to be thankful for all things - the journey, the trials, the blessings and the Hand of God leading them.

How many times I have found myself recently focusing on the hard parts of life. May my heart be reminded in this season to decide ahead of time to thank Him for all things. And may I find ways to impress a heart of gratitude on my children.

Looking Forward,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Welcoming A Sweet Gift

Our new little daughter arrived on October 19, just over two weeks ago. We are all adjusting to having this sweetest gift in our home. Due to my recovery and total sleep deprivation, I have not had much time to blog. I did see this great quote on a friends' blog and I thought I would share it here. I was so encouraged by it. And that is really what I needed today! Thanks Jenny!

"Oh that God would give every mother a vision of the glory and splendor of the work that is given to her when a babe is placed in her bosom to be nursed and trained! Could she have but one glimpse into the future of that life as it reaches into eternity; could she look into it's soul to see it's possibilities; could she be made to understand her own personal responsibility for the training of this child, for the development of its life, and for it's destiny,- she would see that in all God's world there is no other work so noble and so worthy of her best powers, and she would commit to no other hands the sacred and holy trust given to her."
- JR Miller

So for now, I am looking at the possibilities and trying to understand my responsibilities to raise this little one the way I am called to do so!

Looking forward,