I don’t know about you, but I managed to make it through yesterday without buying anything. I was going to, but never got back to the computer to actually pay for the stuff. Today, I don’t know if its even still in my cart on the sites I was on. (Actually, I can’t recall the sites I was on… Whoops..)
We started our Advent devotional yesterday. We have a few that I have collected through the years and we tend to do whichever one suits us that year. Sometimes we do them together. Sometimes we actually finish the devotional. Most of the time, we are just lucky to make it through some of them.
Our first real advent devotional was using the advent candle wreath. Each week has a candle, purple, that you light and then read a devotion that goes with. I have long ago lost that booklet and the devotions that went with. But we liked it and it helped us all to understand what Christmas was really about.
Then someone gave me a copied packet about the Jesse tree. This one is by Dean Lambert Smith and is on Amazon for around $10. We loved that one and for the next few years, in December, made all the ornaments that went with. We bought a few that were on sale, but mostly we made them all. I really like that devotional. This one starts with the verse in Isaiah, chapter 11:1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
Then using verses from the old and new testaments, shows that God had been telling His people about the coming of this baby since the beginning of time.
I love it- it actually is my favorite. I love pulling out the ornaments the the big kids made when they were little. I love adding ornaments the younger kids have made to add to it.
One year, when we needed a change from the Jesse tree, I found something called “Adornaments” from FamilyLife. (I was shocked to see it was on sale on Amazon starting at $149!!!) It was simple, the verses brief and the little books are adorable. It was perfect for those Decembers that were a bit hectic. But I did feel like I wanted more so a lot of time I would use this along with the Jesse tree.
Then I found a book called “Bartholomew’s Passage”. Its by Arnold Ytreeide and there are a couple of other books in the series. Christian Book Distributors has it for $11.99. Its a story set in biblical times about a boy who is about 12, (as I recall) whose family is taken by an invading Roman army. He is separated from them and is taken as a slave. Through his journey he does find someone who saves him from slavery, and gets him back to his parents.
It is a good story, though kind of difficult to read. Some parts are scary dangerous, so if your kids are sensitive to that, you might want to skip this one. My kids liked the story, though and asked for it to be read every day. Some parts we did have to talk through a little, just a heads up.
This year, I started to read a book I got free for my kindle for advent called “The Hope of Christmas”. It may be a little dry for the kids, they didn’t seem to like it much. We talked about it yesterday and they actually want to do the Jesse Tree. I think we will go to that one. We haven’t done that in quite a few years, so maybe it would be good to do this year.
I personally, just want something that keeps our focus where it belongs. What do you like to do with your family this month to keep your focus on Jesus?? I would love to hear your ideas.