and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword,
cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.
It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Welcome to Family Faith and Fun Fridays- Advent Edition. As the week winds down and I anticipate more family time over the weekend, I often ask God for one good idea that will enable me to bring the Word to life and bring our family together. Usually, the activity overflows out of something the Lord has been teaching me through His Word during the week. I’d like to invite you to join me and my family in the adventure. Sometimes I’ll post things we’ve tried; other times I’ll post an idea in the works. If you’ve got thoughts to add or suggestions on how to adapt or improve the activity, please don’t hesitate to comment. Enjoy!
I love the anticipation of Christmas, the I-can-hardly-wait, paper-chain-countdown, shake the presents under the tree- kind of excitement that swirls about our home in the days preceding our Savior's birth. I love the loud off-key renditions of Jingle Bells that spontaneously erupt in our van as we cruise past a cheesy lawn ornament display presenting Santa in disco lights. I love the giggles and embellished stories that emerge as we decorate our tree with homemade ornaments and cheap gold beads. I love the greenery that covers the dust on my furniture and the festive sight of seven velvet stockings dangling from the mantle. I love the quiet wooden nativity set that reminds me to kneel in wonder and the colorful plastic one that invites my children to bring the manger scene to life. I love watching our sweet little plastic baby Jesus ride through the house in Barbie cars and on John Deere tractors because "the donkey is just too slow."
In short, I love the Advent season. The word advent is derived from a Latin word meaning the approach or the arrival. And so, these next twenty-some-days remind me that Christmas is fast approaching. Though the world views the impending arrival of December 25 as a reason to hurry and flurry and fret, I want to see it as a marvelous excuse to ponder, prepare, and praise. And I want my children to do the same.
Each year in order to focus our anticipation, I create a simple Advent countdown. Some years we light candles each night and read Bible verses, other years I wrap up tiny reminders of the Nativity and night by night we unwrap each token of truth. This year, for the first time, I'm using a Christmas box to prepare our hearts for the Birthday Bash to come. Twenty-five little doors remind us to open the door of our heart to the true meaning of Christmas. Tonight, Hannah pulled two little googly eyes out of the assigned door, and I asked why our eyes might be significant to Advent.
Several guesses later, I asked who had seen Jesus on the night of His birth. The shepherds, Mary, Joseph, the animals in the barn. Then I asked, "Were there people right there in Bethlehem who DIDN'T see Jesus?" Yes, many. In fact, most people in that little town failed to spot the Savior in their midst even though his birth was marked by stunning starlight.
Finally, I asked, "Does everyone who truly LOOKS for Jesus find Him?" Varied responses followed, but then I shared the following verses:
Proverbs 8:17- "I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me".
Jeremiah 29:13- "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
After listening to God's Word, we agreed that all who seek Jesus will find Him. With that, I challenged my children to be "Seekers of Jesus" this season. "Let's look for Him every day!" I urged. And then I mused aloud, "I wonder if the better we get to KNOW Him, the more we are able to SEE Him."
We'll have to keep opening the little red doors to find out! And looking for the extraordinary Birthday Baby in the midst of our ordinary days.
Seek And Find Jars
As a reminder that we want to be "seekers" this Advent season, we made a few "Seek and Find Jars." These homemade I-Spy games invite participants to test their spying skill as they try to find twenty hidden items in a sea of birdseed and sparkling beads.
We simply gathered up 20 little trinkets from around the house- tiny army men, Barbie doll shoes, Polly pocket pets, buttons, paper clips, erasers, pennies, and whatever else we found lying around in dresser drawers and between the couch cushions. Then, we filled the jars a quarter full with birdseed, sprinkled a few colorful beads on top and tossed in a few trinkets. We repeated the process until the trinkets were all covered and birdseed level left an inch of space between the lid and the fill line.
Wise Men Still Seek Him!