When Corbin was only one year old we started this tradition at Christmas of doing Advent Devotionals everyday (or as much as we could) leading up to Christmas. We are still going strong after 8 years. These devotional times have been and still are so rich for our family. It is so, so easy to get caught up in so many distractions during this season and we find it refreshing to sit down as a family at the end of the day and reflect on why we even have the Christmas season. We celebrate Christmas because of Jesus Christ coming to earth as a little baby, humble and meek. We praise His name for becoming human flesh and being born in a lowly manger. We praise His name for coming to be our Savior. He is our Emmanuel!
Each year we use the same book by Marilyn Williams called Advent Family Devotions: Keeping Christ in Christmas. It comes in hard cover and kindle edition now but we have a spiral bound version that I purchased when I went to a women’s event and heard her speak years ago.
It is really quit simple and you and your family can make it what you want. Sometimes it can be a shorter time and sometimes it can be a longer time of reflecting, searching the scriptures and singing wonderful Christmas Hymns.
The book is set up so you can do one advent devotion on Sunday of each week or you can do the Sunday devotions and the daily devotions each night of the week. Each weekly devotion is associated with a certain color candle and represents a certain part of Jesus’ story. The white candle in the middle is lit on Christmas Day and of course it represents Jesus himself.
My boys take turns lighting the candles and blowing them out and now that we have readers in the house we share the responsibility of reading the scriptures together.
Each devotion starts with a introduction and then a few bible verses. After reading those verses then you read Marilyn’s advent book which brings all the verses together. The devotion time ends signing Christmas hymns as a family and she includes the lyrics in the back of her book for these. We always have our favorites! Singing together has been a blast and the kids absolutely love it.
In total the devotion time can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a half an hour.
Here is a picture of Corbin when he was one blowing out the candles. I made my own wreath back then and it has since fallen apart so we have graduated to another one now.
Before I part I wanted to share with you one of my most favorite Christmas Hymns (which is in this devotional). It is written by Charles Wesley in 1744
(click the title to hear the hymn~this link does not have all the lyrics printed below but it is a beautiful rendition of this song. It brings me such joy thinking of what these words mean.)
- Come Thou long expected Jesus
- Born to set Thy people free
- From our fears and sins release us
- Let us find our rest in Thee
- Israel’s strength and consolation
- Hope of all the earth Thou art
- Dear desire of every nation
- Joy of every longing heart
- Joy to those who long to see thee
- Day-spring from on high appear
- Come thou promised Rod of Jesse
- Of Thy birth we long to hear
- O’er the hills the angels singing
- News glad tidings of a birth
- Go to him your praises bringing
- Christ the Lord has come to earth
- Come to earth to taste our sadness
- He whose glories knew no end
- By his life he brings us gladness
- Our Redeemer Shepherd Friend
- Leaving riches without number
- Born within a cattle stall
- This the everlasting wonder
- Christ was born Lord of all
- Born Thy people to deliver
- Born a child and yet a King
- Born to reign in us forever
- Now Thy gracious kingdom bring
- By Thine own eternal spirit
- Rule in all our hearts alone
- By Thine all sufficient merit
- Raise us to Thy glorious throne
Merry Christmas to you this advent season. I pray that you will stay focused on the real (and only) reason we celebrate Christmas and not get caught up in all the distractions. Enjoy your family and enjoy celebrating the birth of our Lord!