there are memories that i cherish growing up in a southern baptist church. for one, hugs. everyone hugs at church. to this day i will hug someone i just met simply because it's natural. i am a hugger. two, homecoming. homecoming at church as a little girl meant frilly dresses and tons of kids to play with for hours upon hours, while adults chatted over luscious desserts. three, the easter sunrise service. where parents bring their children to church in pajamas and there is a solemn silence that brings about reverence and remembrance. watching the sunrise as a church member plays the tune of amazing grace on the trumpet will always hold a sweet spot in my heart.
one thing we did not do, as southern baptist, was celebrate the church calendar. which means i did not have knowledge of things like Lent and Advent until i went to college.
when i came to understand these practices and the meanings behind them i fell in love with them. we now incorporate these things into the daily lives of our family during the season that calls for it.
advent is a time of waiting and preparation for the celebration of the coming of Christ. those words alone begin a stirring in my soul, even now. the season of advent calls us to slowness. a time to refocus and redirect our thoughts towards his coming and towards loving his people.
starting december 1st we begin hang our entire advent calendar so that all 25 days are in full view. some people hang one each day so that on christmas day you have a full garland of goodness. we hang ours and take one down each day so that we can see how many more days until the arrival of Christ.
the children take turns removing the card and calling us to worship with the reading of the scripture, usually from the jesus storybook bible. we gather in the floor and talk about what the words mean. we pray together. i may put parts of the reading on our chalkboard to keep us focused for the day.
in addition to the reading we have an activity to go along with each day. as a family we try to make most of our activities focused on others.
decorate the christmas tree.
make homemade ornaments.
deliver diapers and wipes to the battered women's shelter.
deliver sweet treats and hand made cards to neighbors.
collect & deliver canned goods to the local food pantry.
pay for someone's coffee & treats at the coffee shop.
sing christmas carols together.
stay up late and watch a christmas movie.
make a gingerbread house.
act out the nativity scene.
have friends & family over for coffee and homemade candies.
pick out gifts for children around the world from the world vision catalog.
make christmas presents for friends & family.
family slumber party in the living room floor.
deliver care packages to the local nursing homes.
decorate your bedroom door for christmas.
fill a shoebox for operation christmas child.
make a christmas wreath.
collect money to donate to a charity chosen as a family.
make & mail christmas cards.
write and illustrate a christmas book.
take a late night drive in your pj's to see the christmas lights.
bake a birthday cake for jesus.
buy gifts for a family in need.
pick a name from an angel tree.
attend a christmas performance.
write a letter to santa.
learn more about jesus.
so this is why and how we celebrate advent! if you're looking for a cute advent calendar, you can find one here. below is a video of the entire set!