Lighting the Advent wreath is one of our favorite traditions. During dinner each night we dim the lights, say some prayers, and sing the refrain to O Come, O Come Emmanuel while lighting the candles.
The kids are mesmerized by the candle flames and there's always a debate over who gets to blow the candle out. Luckily it gets easier as we light more candles each week. Regardless of the quarrels, it's a blessing to see the wonder in their eyes--remember what that was like as a child?
We've been trying something new this Advent, too. Instead of focusing on being good for Santa so they can get presents, we're helping the kids to focus on showing God's love to others. When we catch them showing love, or being good, we let them add a piece of hay (or yarn) to an empty manger in hopes of filling it up for baby Jesus before Christmas. Sometimes it turns into making things up to be caught doing, but overall, I think the kids are getting the message. And they have been earning their hay, this was just taken the first day we started.
We've also been working on our ornaments for the Advent activities from Truth in the Tinsel, the faith-based Advent ebook I told you about. It's a bit of a dash gathering up the supplies each day, but it's been a fun way to teach the kids the story of Christ's birth. The candle stands for Christ as the Light of the world, the crown for Christ as King of kings, the funny man is Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, and the angel is Gabriel who spoke to Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph.
We're adding them to our little tree and the kids look forward to the mini lesson and craft each day. It takes about 15 minutes and has been a lot of fun. There's still time for you to start, too! You can check out a preview page of the ebook, and you can download your own copy here. If your looking for a simple way to teach your kids the true meaning of Christmas, I highly recommend it!
What are your family's favorite Advent traditions? How else do you anticipate Christmas?