Faith that Works

Teaching middle schoolers how to live and practice their faith

Celebrating Advent with my family is a lot of fun. Although my son is still a little young to understand all the signs and symbols of Advent, he loves candles and he loves a good story, so both of those things play heavily into our family Advent traditions. It’s also super fun to have a little kid, because we get to decide as a family what our traditions will be and how we will do them.

The first thing we do is place our Advent wreath in the middle of the dining room table. As I mentioned in my post about my personal prayer during Advent, I try to light the Advent candles each morning when I am praying and each night at dinner. When Max is older maybe we will sing a song before we light the candles, but right now we are still working on the mastery of grace before meals.

Our nativity set is another Advent must have. When I was confirmed, my sister gave me a beautiful ceramic crèche set, and it used to be the focal point of our Advent and Christmas decorations until we had a toddler. I am not sure I am ready to put it out again yet. But I love the Fisher Price Nativity Set,* and so does Max. It’s also available as an Advent Calendar,* which is pretty cool. Because I love nativity sets so much, I also have a handmade peg doll set that a friend gave us last year and this year for Saint Nicholas Day we got a Melissa and Doug block nativity *for Max. We also have a set of magnets and the components of a building blocks nativity set from Almond Rod toys that we haven’t quite figured out yet.

Because my husband isn’t home most week night evenings, a lot of the family prayer time is just me and my son, so this year I am going to try to do our Jesse Tree with both of them in the morning before I go to work. Each day of Advent we read the Jesse tree story in one of Max’s children’s Bibles and put the corresponding ornament on the tree. Our favorite children’s Bibles for Max are My Story Bible,* The Children’s Picture Bible, * and Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories*. Between the three of these, we can usually find a workable version of the story for that day.

Our family Jesse Tree ornaments from a swap a few years ago

Our Jesse Tree also gets an ornament for each week’s theme: hope, peace, joy and love, which were made for me by a student a few years ago. During the last week of Advent we also add the O Antiphon for each day to the tree.

The last two things we do as a family during Advent are just pure fun. Every year that we have been married, my husband and I have gotten a Lego Advent Calendar. We now have a fun little collection of Christmas themed Legos that we add to every year. I also spend Advent weekends baking and freezing cookies for our celebration of Christmas.

As Advent progresses I’ll post some pictures of all this fun stuff on Instagram and Facebook, so be sure to follow me there @faiththatworksea

*links followed by an asterisk are affiliate links. That means that if you click my link to purchase any of those items I receive a small commission at no cost to you.

All other links go to content on the blog. Happy Advent!

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