{Advent}

Happy Advent everyone! I know it's been a good one thus far over here, mainly because I decided that this was going to be the year that I simplified Advent and just Christmas in general. Last year I ended up in tears on Christmas eve because the Jesse Tree just wasn't happening, the sugar cookies didn't turn out right and the kids were getting sick. Nothing seemed to be going my way last year and mix in pregnancy hormones...whoa. I was an emotional wreck. When I sit back and think about why it was that way, I believe it was because I was trying a little too hard and making it all about me. Advent is a time to prepare the way for the Lord and Christmas is about Jesus. Not about me. At. All. Things like cookie making and participating in the Jesse tree are fine and can be fun but they shouldn't cause you to stress or cause you to lose focus on the real meaning of Christmas. So this year, I have simplified Advent for myself and for the kids. I also decided to stop trying to make Christmas so perfect for the kids because, there is no such thing as perfect and that's a great life lesson to learn. For Advent I am participating in an online Advent study. It was $8.00 for all the materials and is based on Lectio Devina. Lectio Divina is a way to pray and read over scripture. You first read a verse (James 4:8 is a great one!) then mediate on that verse, pray about it, contemplate (just sit with God in silence) and then act (what is God calling you to do?). If you have ever felt lost during prayer and feel like you just don't know how to pray...start with Lectio Divina. Anyway, the study has been really simple with great reflections written by other mommas across the country. Here is the link if you would like more info. https://gumroad.com/l/OzyIP#

Another easy way to soak up Advent is by signing up to receive short meditations that can be sent to your email. It doesn't get more simple than that! You can sign up to receive these mediations made by the Live Greater Foundation by going to our Facebook group page (click HERE to be directed to our Facebook page) and sending us your email!

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For the kids I made a paper chain that had different bible verses that we could read out loud each day. Sophia and Gavin have been taking turns ripping the paper chain and counting down to Christmas. I got the idea off of Pinterest (no surprise there) and the verses are not super long which I love because the kids are able to pay attention to the verses. That was kind of my beef with the Jesse Tree...the bible stories were SO long and most of the time hard to explain to the kids. I think we will try and come back to the Jesse Tree when the kids are over 6 and are able to comprehend those stories a bit better. We also talk about the Advent candles and the wreath. I really love this more relaxed approach to Advent and Christmas. I feel like this will be a tear free Christmas eve (yay)and a more meaningful Advent and Christmas season as well.

Another easy Advent tradition is an Advent calendar. Growing up my brother and I LOVED counting down to Christmas with an Advent calendar.  I can remember getting excited about finding the day on the calendar and seeing what my chocolate would be behind the tiny paper door. A stocking? An angel? It was so simple, yet so exciting as a little kid. I'm glad we are continuing that tradition with our kids.

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What Advent traditions do you enjoy?! Hope you all have had a great start to week 2 of Advent! God bless!