Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Few Thanksgiving leftovers remain and fall decorations are being taken down. Our pumpkins are replaced with wreaths. Christmas lights are popping up around the neighborhood. Advent is upon us!
This time can be overwhelming with so many places to go and things to do. The days seem to fly by with joyful holiday happenings. Advent means “coming” and is a season where we can fully reflect on Christ’s birth: to prepare for it, to celebrate it, to encounter and to live it. As a stay-at-home mom with three girls (ages 4.5, 2.5 and 5 months), having quiet time can be hard to come by most (let’s be honest, all) days! So, why not embrace Advent involving our kids? I taught elementary school before staying at home and I am a strong believer in books!
Reading books as a family causes us to sit down (cuddling encouraged!) and learn together. With a wide range of kiddos, my husband and I have found that reading a book at the dinner table after lighting our Advent wreath is a good way to all be together in one spot. I also have our Advent and Christmas books on book racks that are low to the ground in our family room. Our kiddos can easily pull one out and flip through it, making their own words by reading the pictures. Reading is calming and goes hand-in-hand with taking a step back from the frenzied time around the holidays.
Here are some of our family-favorite Advent books centering around the Nativity:
The Grumpy Old Ox By: Anthony DeStefano
The First Christmas Night By: Keith Christopher
Who is Coming to Our House? By: Joseph Slate
The First Night By: B.G. Hennessy
Lift the Flap Nativity By: Allia Zobel Nolan
The Christmas Light By: Claudia Cangilla McAdam
Star Bright, Christmas Night By: Hannah C. Hall
And, a few more Advent favorites:
The Spider who Saved Christmas By: Raymond Arroyo
The Monks’ Stormy Night By: Sylvia Dorham
The Legend of the Poinsettia By: Tomie dePaola
God Gave us Christmas By: Lisa Tawn Bergren
The Giving Manger By: Allison Hottinger
In addition to books, we use this time as a family to reflect on how we can help others in our community. How can we love those around us? I love this quote by St. Teresa of Calcutta: "At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God's own love and concern." The Giving Manger has quickly become a favorite in our home. Each time we do something kind-for a family member, a neighbor or a stranger, we place a piece of straw in the manger. By Christmas, when we place Jesus in the manger, Jesus will be placed in a manger of love!
What is your favorite way to observe Advent? I wish you and your family a season of hope and love during this Advent! I’ll end with a favorite quote of mine by Dale Evans Roger: “Christmas is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, Christmas continues as Christ lives through us.”
FAITH Board Member
8th Grade PSR Teacher
Elementary Ed Teacher turned Stay-at-home Mom