By Contributing Writer, Candace
One of our favorite things to do this time of year is to celebrate the Advent season.
What is Advent?
The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. (The Voice)
For the past decade or so, our family has been reading three wonderful Advent books that have become our family tradition, and have been permanently imprinted on our children’s heart.
Jotham’s Journey, Bartholomew’s Passage, and Tabitha’s Travels (affiliate links) by Arnold Ytreeide are all beautifully intertwined stories that lead up to Jesus’ birth. Each character is lead on a different journey full of adventure and nail-biting cliffhangers. Your kids will hardly be able to wait for the next day’s reading. At the end of each day’s story, the author summarizes by expounding on the theme of the story. Not only do these beautiful stories elicit great anticipation of Christmas, they also bring valuable lessons to light through each character’s journey.
Even though our older children have heard these stories numerous times, they still look forward to hearing them again every year. And for our younger ones, it’s a brand new story as they grow each year and begin to understand the beauty of Advent. It’s become a wonderful tradition in our family….one that we hope they’ll continue in their own families.
You begin reading one book (Jotham’s Journey is first) the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and read a section each day until you finally arrive at Christmas morning…the reading of Christ’s birth.
Our first night of reading, we sit around the table with big mugs full of hot chocolate and whipped cream. It is such a fun and memorable time for our family. Advent really sets the tone for what Christmas means to our family as Christ-followers, and why we celebrate His glorious birth.
If you’re not already reading these, I highly recommend them. If you can only order one, begin with Jotham’s Journey, and try to collect one a year until you’ve acquired all three. You can also check your local library. Your family will love these, and the time spent reading together is a time to be cherished!
*On a theological note, because our family holds to a different view of theology, there are a couple of points in the books where we have changed some of the wording. If you hold a reformed view, you will know when you get there.
If you’re looking for a more traditional way of celebrating Advent, which includes daily scripture readings, Focus on the Family has a fantastic page with all the scripture references you’ll need and activities for the kids.
If you’ve never heard of Truth in the Tinsel, it’s a great hands-on Advent activity book for kids and parents to do together. With lots of printables, and all the thinking for the crafts and talking points done ahead of time, Truth in the Tinsel makes it easy and fun to spend time teaching your young ones about the true meaning and gift of Jesus.
Truth in the Tinsel currently sells for $7.99, but you can get your copy for 20% OFF with the coupon code: MARATHON.
Whether you are reading Advent books as a family, reading scripture, or setting up an Advent calendar, celebrating the Advent season is a wonderful way to help us remember the One we are truly celebrating this Christmas season, and give us pause to anticipate His return.