Today marks the beginning of the Advent season an I am so excited about some of the things we are doing this year to celebrate the birth of our Saviour.
For the first Sunday in Advent our theme was "preparation". We discussed the meaning of Advent and the symbolism of the wreath. Before we lit the first candle we turned off all the lights and sat in darkness. We talked about how before Christ came, the world was in darkness. There was no hope. Then God sent His son to be the Light of the world. We lit the first candle to remind us that we must prepare our hearts for His coming. The verses that we read were found in Isaiah 9:2,6-7 and Romans 15:4. Our Bible verse/thought for the entire week is found in Isaiah 40:3,5 and says "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for your God;...and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed..."
We made a Christmas chain of red and greens to help us count down the days till Christmas. On each individual chain I wrote a verse to include with our Advent devotions. The first weeks chains will all go with our theme of preparation, the second week - love, third week - joy, and the fourth week - God's love. In past years we wrote names of people that needed prayer on each chain. You could do either way or include both on your chain.
Our next thing we discussed is fasting. To make the remembrance of the birth of our Saviour more meaningful I am encouraging our family to fast during the coming weeks before Christmas as part of our preparation of our hearts to worship God. In Matthew 6:16 says "when ye fast" NOT "if ye fast" and the same in Matthew 6:6 "when thou prayest" NOT "if thou prayest". Fasting and praying is a significant part of Christian life. Remember when you fast that it does not always have to be from food. Other ideas can be television, computer, music, etc. What you choose and when you choose is between you and God.
We also decided to give a gift to Jesus. I wrapped up a small box and cut a hole in it. This box will sit on our dining room table. We are going to fill it with pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters, and dollars. A few days before Christmas we are going to open it, count our money and decide where we want to give our gift. Maybe and orphanage, a love offering to a minister, a needy family or a ministry.
Each night as we gather for our advent devotions we are going to take time to give God praise. To examine every part of our days to see God's fingerprints and share the blessings that God has given us with each other.
Tomorrow we will be reading in Titus 2:13, Tuesday we'll read Isaiah 25:9, Wednesday will be Genesis 49:18, Thursday will be Psalm 33:20-22, Friday we'll read Isaiah 26:8, and Saturday we'll read Isaiah 33:2 All the verses this week are on preparations, waiting, hoping and trusting.
Last year a lady from our homeschool group recommended a book called Celebrating the Christian Year by Martha Zimmerman and a lot of the ideas came from this great book. If you are looking to make Christ more a part of the all your holidays this is the perfect book for you!