Of all the traditions of Christmas, the most important to me is that of Advent. When my children were young, when we homeschooled, and our schedule was our own, we made time for Advent every evening of the Christmas season. Each night we read verses of prophecy from the Old Testament, sang carols, and sometimes did hands-on activities, most of which came from a book that inspired the tradition. All of the ideas in the book were based around weekly themes.
Now that the kids have moved on to college and jobs, Advent on a nightly basis had to be put aside because most times they aren't even home. Yet I am deeply thankful that my family has wanted to continue this tradition, someway, somehow. Actually they were initially quite persistent that we stick to every single aspect of how the book did it, page by page. As my kids grew older, I was feeling more and more limited by the Advent book. Now that my kids were older, I thought we were ready to focus not on specific themes (which in itself is not bad, but I did feel limited in worship) but on Jesus and who He is, based on the Old Testament prophecies which became reality one night outside of Bethlehem. So now instead of only read through "these" Scriptures on only "these" weeks, we just split all the verses in the evenings we do have together and take turns reading aloud. It goes by rather quickly. It is beautiful. We don't need all the extra commentary from the book. All we need is Scripture. Then we sing carols of our own choosing and as many as we want, rather than singing only one or two based on a theme. I plunk away at the piano, to help us keep pitch, and sometimes my son joins with his fife, and we sing whatever we want.
On the first night we do talk about how Jesus, the light, entered the darkness of the world. It is so beautiful, watching each week, the room becoming brighter and brighter.
Our Scripture reading has still been from the Advent book, which seemed to fly too quickly. We had finished all the Old Testament prophecies written out in the book in week 3. What to do for week 4? I came up with a new idea, to sing along to a Messiah CD!
As it was, my kids worked Christmas Eve. They closed the store early, yet they came home by 8pm. After changing clothes, the first thing we did was Advent. On this night we read Luke 2 then sang Silent Night acapella. So beautiful.
It is my goal this week to type out some weekly readings from Scripture that prophesy the coming Messiah. There are many more verses than the original book included. We would all enjoy incorporating more Scripture of the coming Messiah into our Advent readings.