Guest post from author Ruth O’Neil.
Advent is a time of preparation. The Christmas Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. Many families, especially those with young children, have Advent calendars. Each day the children get to open a door, receive a little gift, or remove an object in the countdown for and in anticipation of Christmas.
“As a small gift for Lynn’s readers, I’ve included a complete devotional at the end of the post.” – Ruth
Children, for the most part, look forward to Christmas because of the gifts they will receive. That’s not a bad thing, but we as adults, should have a much deeper anticipation of Christmas.
We take the time to buy and wrap gifts, prepare food, clean the house for guests, buy new outfits, attend parties, etc. But how much time do we put into meditating on the actual birth of Christ and worshipping Him?
Many years, at least in our household, we spend time putting up the tree and decorating it, only to ignore it. We more often than not, sit in the room with the TV. Unfortunately, that’s often the way we are with God as well. We accept Him as Savior. We attend church on Sundays. Other than that, we pretty much ignore Him, too.
This Christmas, in anticipation of the celebration of His birth, let’s focus on Him a little more throughout the month. Let’s prepare our hearts by reflecting on why He came to earth.
The Gift of Faithful Grandparents
It is more common than ever for grandparents to be involved in the raising of children. Many grandparents have sole custody of their grandchildren.
Parents are often too busy with work, so grandparents shuffle grandkids from activity to activity. Many grandparents pay for private school. Not only are grandparents heavily involved in the physical and mental well-being of grandchildren, but they are also extremely influential when it comes to their spiritual well-being.
Many grandparents make sure their grandchildren are in church each Sunday even if the parents are not. Unfortunately, my grandparents were not believers in Christ. I so desperately wanted my grandma to come to know Christ that I left a Bible in her car with her name on it. I don’t know if she ever read it.
I’m hoping the faithful prayers of a child made a difference. My grandparents were involved in my life, and they were influential, but they also made me realize that I want to be different when it comes to my grandchildren – when they come.
Christmas will be that much more special when we focus on the true Reason for the Season.
Bring Devotion and Miracles Back to Christmas
Many of us get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. One way to prevent that is to focus on the reason for the season. Taking a few minutes each day with a different kind of devotional book will help your family think of others.
Each day in this family devotional focuses on one word and includes a story from brother Daniel and sister Holly’s family, a Scripture reading, the YouTube link to a Christmas Carol, and an activity for the entire family.
ADVENT – The Surprise!
“I have a surprise for you kids,” Mom said as soon as Daniel and Holly walked in the door after school.
“What?” They both wanted to know.
“Follow me,” Mom requested as she walked toward the family room.
Two-year-old Evie followed along behind, clapping her hands and giggling.
“She must know what the secret is,” Daniel commented to Holly.
Holly laughed when Evie shouted, “Sec-et! Sec-et!”
Mom smiled as well. “That’s her new word for the day.”
Then Mom held up a box that had a bunch of what looked like little doors. Twenty-five of them to be exact. They each had a number.
“What’s that?” Daniel asked.
“It’s an Advent calendar. Each day we’ll open one. Behind each door is a treat for each of you and a word we can talk about to help us prepare for Christmas.”
“Can we open one now?” Holly wanted to know.
“You may.” Mom pointed to the first door.
“Advent,” Holy read after she took out three small candies and handed one to Daniel and Evie.
“Advent is all about the days leading up to Christmas. We can talk about what Christmas really means and prepare our hearts to worship Christ.”
“Why did Jesus have to come to earth as a baby? Why couldn’t He come as a grown-up?” Daniel wondered as he picked up the baby Jesus from the Nativity set.
“Well, Jesus needed time to prepare, too. He needed to experience all the things we experience. He experienced what it was like to grow up, have a family and friends, and be tempted by sin just like the rest of us. No matter what problems we face in life, Jesus truly understands.”
“But I thought Jesus was perfect and never sinned?” Holly questioned.
Mom nodded her head. “He was perfect. He didn’t ever sin, but He still went through a lot of the same things we do. Because He lived a perfect and sinless life, that’s what made Him a suitable sacrifice for our sins. Only a perfect Man could pay the price for us.”
Daniel and Holly didn’t say anything. For a few moments, the only sound heard was Evie slurping her candy and quietly repeating, “Sec-et.”
Mom continued. “God had to prepare the world for Salvation to come in the form of His Son, Jesus. It wouldn’t happen overnight. It would take Jesus’ entire life time here on earth.”
Daniel, always the one who wanted to learn more, said, “I think this will be interesting.”
“I think this will be fun,” Holly gave her opinion.
“I think it will help prepare us all and help us to understand Christmas just a little bit better.”
Read Matthew 25:1-13
This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Luke 2:25b-26
This activity will take some extra planning. Get together as a family; you can even invite your extended family members to take part in this one as well.
Choose a family that is in need; try to find a specific need if possible.
Gather together money to give to that family for the specific need that they have. If possible, try not to let them know where their Christmas gift is coming from.
That makes it all the more exciting for both them and you.
The Twelve Days of Christmas (How I Want to Sing)
What readers say:
“We love it! You posted it just the right time. God’s providence!”
“My kids love it! Especially the song and the activity.”
“The kids like to read the verses during the devotional part. It has been a good way to get the whole family involved.”
Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting, or situation. You can find her book series “What a Difference a Year Makes” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or her website
When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family.
Learn more or connect with Ruth – CLICK HERE
A personal note from Lynn
Nothing is more important than introducing your children (or grandchildren) to Jesus Christ. What better time than with the magic that is Christmas?
Ruth’s and Sonya’s devotional is full of ideas for sharing with the little ones in your home.
A tiny investment to receive.
A huge opportunity to USE!