I love this time of year with my kids. I love the smells, the trees, the baking, the lights. So many fun traditions. Yet it is so easy to get overwhelmed. Especially with our newest addition (and all of his cuteness) being only one month old. We have always tried to push back on the ever so easy urge to get caught up in it all. All too often I can find myself caught in the tangled web of shopping, crafts, baking, and events that celebrate this time of year and forget about what this season is really about. I have to reign myself in constantly. I can sometimes find myself more concerned about fitting in each of the "fun things" I want to do with the kids....that it ends up not so fun.
My girls still being young they ask constantly the inevitable question, "How many more days until...?" So we, (like probably everyone else who is reading this), have some way to count down to Christmas day. Last year the girls and I made the traditional paper chain. Oh, come on, you know the one. And you tear off a chain for each day. I even got so creative as to use red and green paper. (I can hear the collective "Ooooh, Ahhhhh!" now) Let's just say art is not my forte. And as a homeschooling mom...we kinda need art!
My mom got a little more creative. When I was a kid she would take pieces of candy and stick them to a ribbon. So every day we would come home from school and take one piece off of our personal ribbon to count day the days to Christmas. That's a little more creative, but still not what I have been looking for.
Well, like I said, I am not the most creative mom out there. (Thank goodness for Pinterest). In terms of the days of Advent, I have been wanting something more. Something more meaningful. More tangible and substantial for our girls and for us as a family. I mean with a definition like : Advent : "the coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important; a coming into place, view, or being". (I like that last part. "A coming into view.") I felt like a paper chain to bring into view the birth of our Savior just would not suffice. Last year I found this.
It's called the Cradle to Cross wreath. Each day of Advent we light a candle to progress through to Christs coming. It also has some other pieces to make it bigger to 40 days to celebrate Lent and the ascension. I love it. I love it more than the little windows you open to get a little piece of chocolate out. And do I even need to mention the paper chain? The best part? The best part is on day six we lit the candles and my four year old started singing Happy Birthday. So we all followed along and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. How's that for focusing our "view"?
With all of the seasons great activities of lights, cookies, gingerbread houses, homemade wrapping paper and get togethers; I can gather my children under my wing and bring them closer to our Father. Or, like on day six, my children in their innocence can bring me closer to Him. What do you do during this time of coming into view?