Snow Days and Advent Devotions

“It snowed, and it sticked!” This was the chorus one of my little girls sang this morning upon waking and finding snow had covered the ground during the night. “Snow days” have a different meaning for homeschooled kids. Obviously we never have to cancel class, but we do occasionally have “snow delays” in order to allow extra outside play before classes. Usually we do this for an especially nice snow, but today was special just because it was the first of the season, so outside went the three healthy children.

After a while I had them bring in snow for some cool science experiments I’d be saving for just this occasion. Paul had such a great time with the white stuff that I scooped more from the trampoline so he could play with it in the sink. What a great preschool activity! You wouldn’t believe how long this kept him busy.

Melting under the glorious sunshine, only patches of snow in the fields were left by the time I went for my noon bike ride. Ah - the perfect snow – here just long enough to enjoy, leaving before we tired of it.

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Tonight marks a milestone of a sort in our home. For the twentieth time we have begun a month of Advent Devotions. The December of Andrew’s first Christmas we started what would become our favorite family Christmas tradition. The young mother’s Bible study I was in made sets of felt trees and ornaments for using with a simple Christmas devotional. Taking our own baby steps into the realm of family devotions, we began what became a nightly habit of reading Scripture and praying together. After doing this for a month, we found that a pattern had been established, and we were able to continue throughout the year.

As time passed, Tim and I grew dissatisfied with out simple Advent Devotions. A few years we tried to do without it, substituting some other Christmas study or sticking with the pattern of the rest of the year. Each time our children did not let us get far into the month before they clamored for the good old felt tree Advent Devotions, and out it would come again.

Annually Tim and I said, “We have to re-write this!” I even penciled it in on my October calendar on more than one occasion. Two years ago, spurred on by the request to help the young moms in the MOPS group at church make their own sets, we finally did. Our new Advent devotions have longer Scripture passages, two levels for different ages of children, more discussion questions, carols to sing every night, and an overall structure that makes sense. We look at eternity past, prophecy and promises, sin and salvation, His coming to earth, and our response to His coming. I’m sure we will still be tweaking it as long as we use it, but at least it gives us a format to focus our hearts and minds on the immensity of what it meant for God to take on human form, humbling Himself, becoming a servant, made in the likeness of men, becoming obedient even to the point of death. Each year I pray that we will understand this a bit more, and respond with greater love and thankfulness to the One who so loved us.

Comments

Kara said…
Isn't it the nineteenth year? Because Andrew's birthday is after Christmas?
Anne said…
Kara - yes it is the nineteenth year, but we are using it for the twentieth time. The first time was before Andrew's first birthday, the second time was before his second b-day.....Now the twentieth time is just before Andrew turns twenty. You could call the first year "Year 0", and now we are up to "Year 19", but on the 20th use. I know - it's a math thing.
Hind's Feet said…
Greetings and many thanks for the Felt Tree. We are now using our SECOND felt tree as the first fell apart. I made these for nieces/nephews the first year we heard about them. My kids are SOOO excited to see it come out each year. IN addition we have another small advent book we read, we light our candles, light dinner candles, turn down the lights and recite the Luke passage. I love this time of year and the closeness it brings to our dinner table. Thanks for your ideas, they have become the backbone of our December devotions.
Anne said…
Kim, thank you so much for helping the first and second grade SS class make their own sets last year! Amanda and Faith love having one in their room.
We also enjoy a variety of other books during December. This year I'm reading a book called *The Handel's Messiah Family Advent Reader* to the children at the start of school. Each daily selection has a piece from the Messiah (CD included) and then a devotional from the Scripture that selection is based on.

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