Today marks the first day of Advent. Over the last few years, our family has tried to develop traditions around the season to help us focus on Christ in the days leading up to Christmas. And I’ll be honest, it’s been tough. We’ve got a number of books that we dig, but they’ve been tough to read with the kids (due to attention spans). There’s a story or two that we’re looking at introducing but need to make sure we don’t traumatize them.
Nothing’s really stuck so far, but this year is going to be different.
And if not, I’m not going to get anxious about it.
After all, that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Instead, here’s what I’m going to try to do:
This year—tonight in fact—we’re going to start Peace by Steven J. Nichols, which Ligonier and Reformation Trust released a couple of years ago. It offers several readings for the Advent seasons, as well as hymns, carols, and readings from theologians throughout history. This one is primarily going to be for Emily and me to enjoy, though we hope the kids will take part.
For them, though, I’m looking at The Expected One, an Advent devotional written by Scott James. This one was really written with families in mind and its short daily readings focus on the many promises of Christ throughout the Scriptures.
Finally, I’m including Russ Ramsey’s Behold the Lamb of God as part of my personal reading. I’ve not yet had an opportunity to read this book, but everyone I know who has read it has loved it.
This last one is the one I’m absolutely certain will be a success, as long as success is defined as, “It’s going to be read.” The other two, well, we’re going to try it. We’re going to encourage sitting and discussing for short periods of time. But we’re going to do our best to make it a joy, not a burden. And if it doesn’t work out the way we plan this year, we’ll try again next.
After all, Advent is about anticipation, not anxiety.