True Gift

It started like it does every year. That looming feeling that I *need* to prepare some major, cutsie, crafty advent devotion to begin with my family starting Dec. 1. This idea of advent excites me. I’ve started many…and quit many.



   Two years ago I started a blog about funny quotes my kids said. The titles started with A and continued all the way to Z. In December of that year, with this theme still in mind, I started thinking about God’s character throughout the alphabet. How is He glorified in the simple ABCs? Then I put together that there are 26 letters in the alphabet and 25 days in December before Christmas. What could I do with that? Then it hit me. One letter a day, each day in December, and that letter representing a CHARACTER of God. So for instance, Dec 1= A; Dec 2= B; Dec 3=C and so forth. That’s the easy part. Now the God part comes in. For each letter, think (and pray, because God will help you!!) of a character or attribute of God (use a concordance to help!) to coin for that day. Then find a scripture where it’s used…this could be a story or simply a verse, and share that as a family that day. 



So for example, A could be “All, Abba, Always…and many more. B could stand for “Baby, Begotten, Beginning…” C for “Christ, Chosen, Comfort…” What amazed and excited me as I did this, was I found there are endless names of God! Each letter glorifies His name! He is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Oh, how I want my children to see Him in the Day to Day, the little things. For them to search for Him, to find meaning in everything He has created. I don’t want to give you each word for each day…that would rob you of the process. 



The first year, I wrote on a piece of paper the

days in Dec, followed by the coordinating letters of the alphabet and filled in some of the character qualities that came to mind, maybe half of them. Then, I found it fun to throw the idea out to the kids and see what they come up with! It’s amazing how much better we remember things when it’s our idea 🙂 

  For years, I’ve tried to something that’s not sustainable for me. It requires too much thinking or planning and in the middle of the holiday busyness, I lose track and focus. But this particular year, my mom took the kids and I to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. When usually I would have totally de-railed from any advent structure, it was easy and fun to throw out the letter of the day in the morning, come up with a name, look up a scripture, read it and then we had something to chew on and talk about during the day. Now, no, every day was NOT some deep, special moment, but the Holy Spirit works! Many days I can remember something the kids saw or heard that sparked their memory of the “word” we talked about that morning and the Holy Spirit used that to reveal Himself to my child.

And that’s what this is all about. Not some flashy method to package all the right words together and lead your child into a deep discussion about the Lord. No, it’s something simple to open up conversation, fed by God’s Word, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our children.

Last year the kids and I did this again, except this time we kept better records. I cut little pieces of red paper, folded it in half and had one of them write the letter on the front. Then, when you open it up, on the inside is the scripture we picked. Then I punched a hole at the top, strung some yarn through it and hung it on an old, worn out miniature tree I almost threw away. This is just what I had on hand.

 

You could string them all together on a key ring, or put in a notebook. Or just write it in a notebook. If you have small children, you may be the one to pick the character quality to keep it very simple. One verse may be sufficient, and a story from their Bible can illustrate the meaning, along with a simple image of the word to go along with it. You could just “google” that image and print it out, and the child could color it. Or, if they like to draw, they could draw what they think of for the word “good” or “father”. On the other hand, for my older son, I let him have more participation and choose more, read more, and share more.

  I don’t wake up and heavily prepare for this and some days, we don’t get to it. I can skip a letter and we’re not behind or we can cover 2 letters the next day, guilt-free! But I love to go  to our tree, grab the letter and our Bibles. We open in prayer, read and discuss, then close in prayer to ask God to reveal His character to us. Some of the discussion is amazing, and some lasts 5 minutes and we close. But I want my children to KNOW the character of God. Those gifts are unchanging. The presents we give will pass away. They will all burn. But the true GIFT of Christmas is the Son of God. He came as our gift to Present a way back to an Eternal God when there was no way. We don’t deserve it and we didn’t earn this gift. He simply came. We must simply receive His gift.

  
   May you be blessed this season!! If you have any questions, please post them or email me at julieandcaleb@hotmail.com I would love to know if and how you choose to incorporate any of these ideas!

Putting it In Our Own Words,

~Julie

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