Preparing for Advent: Its never to early

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Well Friends, the season of Advent is almost upon us. We've got one week until we start to prepare our hearts for Christmas. This is my most favorite time of year. People get really happy and start giving and helping and sharing. People are more open to listen and to talk. During the Christmas season we just feel the need to be with friends and family and make sure everyone around us is happy and comfy. I love it. I wish we could be that way all year long.
I don't want to rush through Thanksgiving. Its an American Holiday that deserves its own respect. Speaking of, I taught one of the best yoga classes this morning. (if I do say so myself) It was really great, not just for the workout but because all through class I gave my students time to slow down and breathe. I asked them to think about one thing they were thankful for. Now take that one thing and let it lead you through this next part of practice. And smile. After class, I had several people thank me for it. We forget that in this busy season of rushing and giving and helping and sharing, to stop and breathe. Remember why we do all of this. So this Thanksgiving, take the time to stop and breathe. Feel the air flow in through the nose and feel it expand the body in all directions. As you exhale, pull the belly in and feel the body get small again. And smile.
As soon as you're done with Thanksgiving and the turkey is all packed into the refrigerator, log on and get one of these Advent Calendars ready for Sunday! This year my kids are a little older (Brewer is 5 and Eva is 3) and can understand on a little deeper level what Christmas is about. I want to be really intentional with Advent this year. I want to make sure that we, as parents, make a conscious effort to show them the promise of the Messiah and how the people waited and hoped and believed. I want them to see the fulfillment of that promise in the birth of Jesus and why we celebrate Christmas with such passion. In knowing and feeling the hope Gods people held to for generation after generation, they too will be able to hold fast to the hope that He is coming again ... for them.
So in my great search for the perfect Advent Calendar, I found these two. The first one is from The Village Church. If you don't already know and listen to their podcast, you should. Amazing teaching.

As you'll find it can be used in several different ways. Personal Study & Family Devotion. I cant wait to dig in. Bonus: There are also playlist! Who doesn't want more Christmas music, am I right? Can I get an Amen?!
The second one I found was this one using the much beloved (at least in this house) Jesus Storybook Bible. Side Note: if you do not have this book in your library, bookmark this blog and click the link to buy it now! You'll thank me later, even if you don't have children to read this to. Its amazing and I enjoy reading it myself. Jamie and I have found ourselves "fighting" over who gets to read the bedtime story tonight.
We'll just have to take a look and see which plan best fits our family and see if maybe we can use both. I most defiantly will be doing the personal study in the first one. But for you, if you don't already have a plan in mind, take a look. These are the two best ones I've seen. (and trust me, I've looked at them all)
If you want a fun way to display and count down, check out my Pinterest Christmas board: He's Making a List: AKA Christmas. I've pinned some ideas that I've liked.
Let me know what you think of these and how you're planning to celebrate Advent this year. Is there a tradition that you just love?

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