The Quiet Thrill of Advent

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Proudly, S has just reached the double digits.  It is unbelievable to me that a decade has already breezed by since his perfectly round, smiley face entered the world.  Now that the homey and family-oriented celebrations of Thanksgiving and S’s birthday are over, there will be another blur, and then we will be up late wrapping last minute Christmas presents.  Have you begun to feel the stress and hurriedness of the season?  In between history lessons, shopping, preparing meals, bed time stories and mopping the kitchen floor, I highly doubt there will be much time for me to find a clever Christmas craft.  Let’s face it – boys just do not care about making snowmen out of pom-poms and cotton balls.  Yet, I want them to find the holidays meaningful and memorable.  I want them to internalize the truths of a Christmas advent.  It is not just about Christmas shopping, baking and cookies; it is not just for the fun of hand crafts, but about being joyful, deeply thankful, and expectant as we imagine peering into the feeding trough of a stable in the Jewish countryside.

Christmas, in so many ways, is already for children.  There are presents.  There are cookies and cocoa.  There are parties.   And so, I hardly feel like a killjoy when I invite my children to sit down with me to open the Bible and read some prophecies.  These prophecies from the Old Testament help us to define the signficance of Advent, a patient, watchful waiting for the Promised One.  Do I believe that A, S and G are as excited about doing this with me in the evening, as say,  licking the cookie dough off the beaters?  Hardly.  Do I believe they fully grasp the profundity of Christ’s incarnation?  Of course not.  However, even G, at three years old takes his emotional cues from us, his parents.  He is excited when we are.  He is calm and happy when we are.  These are the seeds as a parent I wish to plant: Christmas is a time to be quiet and thank Jesus; Christmas is a time to share the beautiful stories with those you love.

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The following are some of the beautiful stories we will be sharing in the evenings.  I have listed the  prophecies of Christ which deal specifically with his birth and identity.   We will be choosing one per evening.  I have no visual aid, but if you have a crafty idea for how to make this more visually appealing for little ones, by all means let me know!  I am just choosing not to stress over this, but to allow God’s Word to work on little hearts at this time of year.

ADVENT READINGS WITH CHILDREN

Genesis 3:15 – Man has done bad things, but God always had a special plan.  Jesus is the answer to our problem.  He came so we can be friends with God.

Genesis 22:17-18– God even reminds Abraham of the promise.  Everyone will be blessed because of Jesus.

Isaiah 7:14– Jesus will born to a girl not yet married.  Jesus will be human, but completely from God!  His name will mean “God with us.”

Isaiah 9:6-7– Jesus will be our peace.  He will last forever; He is God.

Jeremiah 23:5– Jesus will be from David’s family.

Psalm 2:7– Jesus is God’s Son.

Psalm 132:11– Jesus will be a king on David’s throne forever.

Micah 5:2 Jesus will be born in the small town of Bethlehem, the town of David, but will also be God.

Jeremiah 31:15– Jesus will be protected by God, even though the King will try to destroy him.

Hosea 11:1– Jesus will spend time in Egypt under God’s protection, and be called out of Egypt as someone very special.  This verse has so many fulfillments.  It may be interesting to discuss with older children how Hosea could be talking about Israel and Jesus simultaneously.

Zechariah 6:12-13 – Jesus is the “Branch,” a word sounding like Nazareth or the town where Jesus grew up.  He is both our priest and king combined.

Luke 1:26-2:20– Many of the prophecies above are already seen fulfilled.  THIS is why we celebrate Christmas.  Our LORD has come.  The angels rejoice, and so do we.

Christmas Eve and morning will be filled with tearing into packages, squeals of excitement, and Lego boxes littering the floor, but I hope over the years my boys will also remember the quiet thrill of waiting for Jesus’ coming.  An advent not just for uncovering the chocolate behind the flap on the calendar,but  instead an invitation for watchfulness through the centuries, for celebrating a Jewish baby for the world.

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