celebrate advent

This Christmas season was our very first year  we’ve chosen to celebrate Advent.  For some reason I was completely drawn to the idea of reflecting with candlelight on the wonders and joy of the Christmas season.

I was also inspired by my interview with Amanda White from Truth in the Tinsel last year.

(Here’s a quick video of my Advent wreath setup.  I was so excited when it first came in the mail, so I had to share on Youtube!)

Three Reasons We Celebrate Advent in our Homeschool

While gazing into the beautiful candlelight, I taught my daughters to enjoy the moments of quietness and reflection.  We focused on the flames growing larger just the way our light should be when God ignites us.   We focused on the symbolism of each candle and how they remind us of Christ.

Each Sunday we lit a new candle- one of four, then two of four for the second week, and so forth. This week (the week of Christmas) we lit our final candle.

Each week we focus on the four virtues brought to us by Christ Himself: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.

The first week our candle lighting represented hope or expectation.

The second week, we focused on Love.  (That was the pink candle- and my youngest’s favorite!)

The third week we focused on the Joy that Jesus brings.

And this week, our final week of Advent we are focusing on the Peace that Christ gives to us as Believers in Him.

We actually have one more candle to light on the morning of Christmas, which will symbolize that Jesus is the light of the world.

Here are a few reasons we chose to celebrate Advent this year:

Advent keeps Christmas Christ-focused

In all the hustle and bustle of holiday gift-buying, shopping sprees at the mall, holiday parties, and pressures to buy presents, I wanted to keep the focus in our family of what Christmas is really all about.

Not only did we celebrate Advent through the lighting of the candles, but we enjoyed for the first time a Jesse Tree activity that I hope will help keep the true meaning of Christmas alive for my youngest child.

I don’t want the true meaning of Christmas to get overrun by the commercialism of society.  I’m all about gift-giving, gift exchanges, and enjoying the art of giving, but I’m not about buying into the yoke and pressure that society puts on us to buy just the right gift, the perfect gift.

The one True and Perfect gift already came for us and gave us the gift of Salvation…and for that, we can be grateful.

Advent helps me to connect with my kids spiritually

Let’s face it, moms, how often do we have to sit down with our kids and truly connect with them on a deeply spiritual level?

More often than not, we are focusing on getting through a math book or whipping through a set curriculum for the school year.  Many times our faith studies and teachings get put on hold.  (I’m guilty as charged and holding my hand up way high.)

I am reminded constantly during prayer time that the Lord desires that we raise up our kids in a way pleasing to Him by teaching them, instructing them in the HIs ways.

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Also, there’s the idea of how often we should be teaching them:

And these words I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Scripture compels us to connect with our kids spiritually, and often.  Because Advent has been a regular (daily) activity these past four weeks, I am content with how often we’re able to connect.

And because Advent centers our focus on Christ, I am very happy with the outcome: the reminder to my children of why we celebrate this season.  Sometimes reminders are just needed.

Create holiday memories

One other fun holiday activity we did this year was an Advent calendar.  I found this really cool wooden Christmas tree calendar from Michael’s on a 70% off store-wide sale.  Needless to say, I put this to good use!

One idea I had was to add small candies into the doorways, along with a slip of paper on which a book title was written.  These titles came straight from our local public library and were waiting on a book shelf for my youngest daughter to discover it.  Each day when she pulls out a candy and book title, her job is to traipse over to the shelf, find the title, and read the book.  It’s pretty exciting to have something to look forward to each morning: a candy and a book!

Here’s a video showing how I pulled it together.  It’s very simple and I didn’t do much besides buy the calendar, purchase candy, and write out some titles on index card slips.

These memories will last a lifetime.  Every so often I’m reminded of how quickly the time passes and how fast our kids are growing up.

I’m determined that every holiday season should be filled with good cheer and memories, the best we possibly can make them. (I try to see the glass half-full).  Not every year is a cheerful one, but life is really what we make of it.

As much as lies in my power, I want to create good memories for my family and lead them into holiday traditions that capitalize on our faith and love for God and mankind.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, the videos, and the podcast, I want to hear from you! Do you celebrate Advent in your home?

Please leave me a comment or voice mail, and I may even play it on an upcoming podcast.

Happy holidays, and merry Christmas from my family to yours!  See you on the next show after the new year!

Resources mentioned on the podcast:

Interview on Advent

Recent Blog Posts

My YouTube Channel: MOMZEST

About Demetria Zinga

Demetria is a homeschooling mom and "mompreneur" who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, two daughters, and a Shih-Tzu. She currently runs two podcasts for moms, blogs, writes music, and spends lots of time at coffee shops. Her goal is to be an encourager and motivator of women, helping them to find success and joy in homeschooling, business, and motherhood.

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