My childhood Christmases were magical, down to the oatmeal mixed with glitter that we scattered on the lawn for Santa’s reindeer (because reindeer don’t just eat plain oats, of course!). I still don’t have any idea how “Santa” put our presents under the tree without detection year after year, especially with our creaky hardwood floors. Year after year we did the same things in the same ways, and I didn’t know what a comfort that was until I entered the upheaval that accompanied the transition from my family of origin to starting my own family. Suddenly, I lived in a different state and every year our family looked a little different through marriages, divorce, deaths, births, and moving. Every Christmas for the last six years, I have longed for the stability of those old traditions, and vowed to start my own to provide the same sense of wonder, joy, and comfort for my own family once we got settled. At first, I sought to replicate those very same traditions, but it won’t work. It’s not the same. Not to mention, I have always hungered for more Jesus in my Christmas than just setting up a Nativity scene and reading Luke 2 on Christmas Day. So, I think I have finally come up with a solution that will work for my family, in creating our own Advent calendar. This is not a new concept, by any means, but I have made it uniquely to fit what we are looking for:
- It’s got a theological backbone. It looks at 24 prophecies or signs pointing from the Old Testament to Jesus, and then celebrates His birth for a week after Christmas by looking forward to the New Heavens and New Earth.
- On the other hand, my one-year-old can participate. I’m going to make a felt calendar with Velcro symbols that he can stick on for each day. I’ve also included corresponding readings from the Jesus Storybook Bible and The Biggest Story, two excellent depictions of the Bible for children. (Disclaimer: there is not a children’s story for EVERY single day, because for some reason children’s Bibles don’t tend to cover prophecies like Zechariah. Go figure.)
- I have also included hymns that correspond with each reading. We received a hymnal as a gift from some good friends, and music helps move our knowledge from our head to our hearts.
This Advent Calendar is totally built for the needs of my family, but I hope it will be a good resource for yours, too. You can pick and choose what is helpful and leave what isn’t. I will be posting each day as it comes up, or you can get a printable spreadsheet of all the scripture readings, hymns, and symbols by clicking on Advent Calendar.