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Celebrating Advent at Each Age Level

With the twins and Abby and Emma, 7, 7, 4 and 3, I’m doing Lisa Whelchel’s ADVENTure of Christmas with the Advent calendar on the refrigerator. Through it they are learning about the meaning of Christmas traditions and symbols. She includes lots of neat activities you can do to go along with each lesson.

Then we use The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman. They really like opening the door. They take turns. It’s so cute to see them knock on the door before they open it. This book is so beautiful, we enjoy just taking it out. The kids have touched the doors so much that we have lots of fingerprints on them. I’ll have to polish it when the season is over!

From this book, they are learning the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus a little bit at a time.

I light the first candle in our version of an advent wreath when we start the readings. When we finish, one of the children blows out the candle and in the smoke we visualize our prayers going to heaven like incense.

With Kelsey and Morgan, 12 and 10, I’m using Ann Voskamp’s Advent and Jesse Tree Devotional available to those who follow her blog through email at A Holy Experience.

Just click on the link at the top right sidebar of her blog that says “the free jesse tree advent devotional book?” and it will tell you how to get it.

Through this study Kelsey and Morgan are getting an in-depth look at the prophecies and events that led to the Messiah’s coming. Ann is the best writer on the planet. The quality of this study is top-notch, and the lessons are short enough to keep the attention of those who would rather be off playing video games. I love the ornaments for the Jesse Tree that are free to download and make, too. I think they are beautiful.

I let Kelsey light the candle again, and when we’re done, she or Morgan blow it out, depending on who wants to do it. We’re using tealight candles, so we’ve already had to replace the first candle once. It’s getting a lot of use!

I just started reading One Wintry Night to all who gathered in the living room yesterday for popcorn and Christmas stories. Ruth Bell Graham tells the WHOLE story, too, starting with Creation going all the way through the resurrection of Jesus and does it through the story of a boy getting stranded away from home in a snowstorm. He ends up in a cabin built by his grandfather, and the woman living there tends to his injured ankle and helps him pass away the snowbound hours by telling him the whole story of Jesus’ birth, in the process giving him an overview of the whole Bible.

I also started reading Jotham’s Journey yesterday. It’s supposed to be started on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, so we’re a little behind, but I’ll either read a couple of chapters a day to catch up – or not. We’ll see how things go!

This book is by Arnold Ytreeide and is about a 10 year old boy who travels across Israel searching for his family. He encounters robbers, thieves and kidnappers as well as The Wise Men, Shepherds and even the newborn Savior during his search. It’s an exciting story that is full of cliffhangers, action and adventure. And Jotham learns some important lessons along the way.

This is how I do short lessons with the younger ones and longer lessons with the older ones. And everybody spends time preparing for the birth of the Savior, focusing on Him during this season set aside to celebrate Him alone.

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