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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

What is the Advent season like in your home? Traditions seem to develop almost without notice and in the past few years our family has acquired several traditions.

It is surprising how the little habits mean so much to the kids. Each evening they take turns opening another door on the Advent calendar and even this small thing is something they ask about throughout the day.

It isn't quite "all Christmas music all the time" for us, but it nearly is! Of course we enjoy all the Christmas hymns and carols, but we also love to play Bing Crosby and some of the other old favorites. This year the kids' favorite is "Mele Kalikimaka", sung by Bing and the Andrews Sisters. Hope and Sydney have improvised their own version of ballroom dancing for that song and can often be seen swirling around the room in front of the glowing Christmas tree!

This is our second year to be a part of GRACE, our homeschool co-op group. GRACE has brought an annual craft day into our traditions and this year the kids will be in a little play. We also will go with our GRACE friends to see "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" at the Center for the Arts here in Wichita.

Perhaps the favorite Advent kick-off is our ornament tradition, which we added to our celebrations last Advent. This tradition I owe entirely to my friend Michelle L. and I am so glad she didn't mind me copying her idea. I know that many people give their children ornaments each year, but Michelle does this with a twist that has been a special blessing to my kids.

Taking a cue from the meaning of their names, we give Hope stars, Sydney angels, Lane crosses, and Tobias bells. This has become a fun little way to give them a sense of God's purpose for their life and our prayer for them.

Hope's first name means “belief” and “expectation.” The Bible teaches us that our greatest hope is Jesus Christ. Our prayer for Hope is that she will live to tell others of this hope. To remind her of this, we give her stars, that she might shine with the Hope of Jesus.

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:2

Sydney's first name means “of St. Denis.” St. Denis was a missionary about 200 years after Jesus lived on earth. He went to France to tell people about Jesus. Because he announced the good news of Jesus to the people of Gaul, many people believed. Our prayer is that Sydney's life will announce the good news of Jesus to the world, just as the angel did, and her angel ornaments remind her of this.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11

Lane's first name means “a narrow road.” Jesus tells us, “Enter through the narrow gate . . .small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 6:13, 14

The Bible teaches us that the road to eternal life is Jesus Christ and that we are saved because he died on the cross for our sins. Our prayer for Lane is that he will follow the narrow road and show others that Jesus is the Savior. We want his cross ornaments to remind him of this.

Tobias's name means "The LORD is good." Psalm 135:3 says,
Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.
We pray that Tobias will live a life in praise to his Father. The LORD is good and for Howard and me Tobias represents the blessing of a very good God. The ornaments of bells that we give to Toby are to remind him to sing praise and make music to praise the LORD.

I hope that you will post a comment (click on "comments") sharing your Advent traditions. What is Advent like in your home? I'd love to hear from you. (Posting a comment only requires a Google account. You may already have one, or you can easily create one with your email address. It is free.)

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