Friday, November 28, 2014

Deep, Cleansing Breaths: A Few Things I'm Trying for Christmas

December 1 is this Monday.  This Monday.

Have you seen that youtube clip "Sh*t Southern Women Say"? (Mild expletive warning, but oh-so-funny and accurate).



I'm not "ready" by a long shot in terms of decked halls, wrapped presents, or personalized, stamped cards.

But I do have a few, simple resources I'd like to share that I plan to use to prepare my heart for Christmas.

1.  Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
A follow-up to her book The Greatest Gift, this is a 25 day family devotional for the Advent season.  We used the Jesus Storybook Bible Advent reading plan last year and really enjoyed it, but some of the stories are lengthy and I felt like the kids missed the impact (though the exposure was great).  The book is beautifully illustrated and provides 25 devotions written with children in mind that correspond to the Jesse tree tradition.  Free printables are available here for the ornaments.  You can even have a "Night Before Advent" party with ideas here.  I'll check back in in a few days to give feedback, but I think this is going to be a winner.  And if you purchase the book today (Black Friday) on Amazon, enter HOLIDAY 30 and receive 30% off one book.

2. Why Do We Call It Christmas? DVD
This is another "What's In The Bible" DVD that I've shared previously and I love, love, love it.
We've watched the entire series and I regularly find myself in church thinking, "Where have I heard this?" and answering back, "Oh, the puppet taught me that."  Lifeway and Amazon have been running specials on these DVDs.  This one deals with the history behind the traditions of the Christmas tree, Santa, and why we celebrate Christmas on the 25th. Fun fact:  Newly converted German Christians hung evergreens in their homes as a symbol for Christ, a stark reversal after once worshipping the oak tree.

3. Truth in the Tinsel
This is another Advent resource for Christmas that I discovered from a suggested Facebook page.  It is a devotional and craft for the 25 days of Advent.  I don't plan on doing this one this year because if I committed to doing 25 crafts, Mama would be celebrating Christmas at a "rest facility" and a nervous breakdown involving twine and hot glue doesn't scream "miracle of the Incarnation" to me.  Seriously though,  I am following this page on facebook and hope to maybe do at least one of the crafts.

4. A "Wow" Experience
We are spending Thanksgiving in North Georgia and get to kick off the season by going to Stone Mountain and doing their Christmas Adventure, which is the regular attractions plus a Christmas train ride. Santa sightings, 4D movie, and a big parade.  We're hoping that the kids get a big kick out of it.  J will probably want to ride the skylift up the mountain and do the train ride around the park all day, and I know the girls will lose their minds with being in a winter wonderland.  This is the first year we are doing anything like an all day attraction.  We are dumb enough to try it with a 2 year old, but wise enough to rent a hotel room nearby.

Admist the unavoidable chaos of December, my wish for me and you are redeemed moments
because the Christ is coming.  Merry Christmas!

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