In the effort to focus our hearts and minds on Christ this holiday season, I am taking a pretty simple approach to our Advent and Christmas plans. This means less activities and stress to allow for more reflection and relationship-building.
I truly enjoy going through an Advent devotional every December. It helps me keep stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas and encourages me to be more intentional in sharing the Truth with others . We are using two different studies this year–one daily plan and one weekly plan.
- Good News of Great Joy – My husband and I plan to go through this devotional by John Piper together every evening through the month of December. You can get the daily readings in a few different for formats and it is also available on the Solid Joys app.
- The Gift of a Savior: Bible Lessons for a Gospel Centered Christmas Season – This year I created my own weekly Bible lesson plans to use for family devotions and my Toddler/Preschool Sunday school class. The studies go along with my Christmas crafts for young children and I am offering them as a free PDF download for the rest of December!
I really like the idea of wrapping up one Christmas book for each day, but my daughter is such a bookworm and would be disappointed if we only read one book. We spend quite a bit of time reading throughout the day, so I found a small selection of age-appropriate Christ-centered stories for us to read throughout the month.
- God Gave Us Christmas
- Mortimer’s Christmas Manger
- The Pine Tree Parable
- This Is the Stable
- The Twelve Prayers of Christmas
- Usborne Lift-the-Flap Nativity
I don’t have many movies or TV shows picked out for this month, I’m sure we’ll add more to the list as we find them, but this is what I’ve planned so far…
- Buck Denver Asks… Why Do We Call It Christmas?
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- VeggieTales: St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving
- Decorating the House – Of course we “deck the halls” and put up a Christmas tree. I have a fireplace to decorate this year, which is super exciting! We will discuss the meaning behind some of the decorations we use and have a kid-friendly nativity scene that will be available for play.
- Giving & Receiving Gifts – While we try to avoid a consumerism mindset in our household and don’t do Santa, we still give and receive gifts in our family. You can read about how we keep our gift-giving centered on Christ. It’s worked well for us so far.
- Acts of Kindness – Following in the footsteps of our Savior, strive to serve others through acts of kindness the month. This year we have a bunch of new neighbors since we moved, so I’m looking forward to using the holiday season to meet them and share the truth of Christmas through a small, meaningful gift. (Maybe a homemade ornament?) I also plan to make cookies for the mailman and library staff and a few other people that serve us throughout the year.
So, that’s the plan for this year!
What are you and your family doing? Share in a comment!