How do you celebrate Advent as a family?
One tradition that we love is we read through the Jesus Storybook Bible (JSB). A few years ago Citylight Kids had an Advent reading calendar where it went through the JSB each day and it made the bible come alive with the kids. We read it in the morning at breakfast and have moved from where we would read it to the kids to now the kids take turns and read to all of us. Caleb just recently said that he ‘loves this bible because it says, ‘Jesus’ at the end of every story.’
Another tradition we do as a family is we wrap the 25 Christmas books we own and put them under the tree each year. It’s a lot of wrapping but every night they choose a book and read it to each other.
Looking back, we powered through the little years when it was hard to get them to sit and listen but now we are at a point where they are reading to each other and they still want to keep doing it. Kids like being read to and considering each story in the JSB was 2-3 pages helped them sit for only 4 minutes. Sometimes when they were little they were playing with something next to us as we read.
What has God revealed to you as you have led this with your family?
It brings you back to what its really all about. It’s a good time to slow down. My work is insane right now and these practices bring Jesus into every day. In the JSB, the stories are simple. Today when we read about the tower of Babel, at the end it says, ‘people couldn’t get to heaven, so heaven came down to earth.’ That is such a simple statement but when you are in the middle of chaos and crisis it’s nice to be reminded of this. Being reminded of truth makes it so beautiful. You can say it in a way to disciple your kids but it rings true in our hearts, as adults, as well. I think it doesn’t have to be just in terms for a little kid or baby, the Gospel is simple in nature and yet beautifully true!
What encouragement do you have for parents?
Just start. And just do. The JSB can be a really simple way to start. It speaks to our heart as adults and it can speak to a teenager’s heart and to littles. If you miss a day, that’s fine. That is not a failure. You can catch up or you can just keep moving to the next story. The five-ten minutes that you spend doing it will be good for your hearts. It doesn’t have to be 100% or nothing...the something is the process. Some of those patterns have been beautiful in our family. For instance, those traditions are now really important and our kids know and love to expect doing this Advent reading every year. In fact, I asked the kids this year if I don’t have to wrap all the books and Caleb said to me ‘Mom, you have to wrap them!’ Some of those traditions are so rich that even a pre-teen boy care about it now. If you start, just start. Just do it. Create those memories with the thought of ‘this is what we do as a family’...we read the bible and spend time together. It doesn’t have to be complex.
Rob & Abby Fehr