"Advent is important to our family because, it being such a busy season, it gives us a moment to pause and slow down. To actually think about why all the busyness is happening, what it's for and what this season is truly all about. For us, we love celebrating the Sundays leading up to Christmas. We specifically take those four Sundays to celebrate hope, love, joy and peace and we do this with a special evening meal. We turn off the lights and eat by candlelight. Even if what we are eating isn't that special, the atmosphere is. The kids take turns lighting the candle each week and while we are eating we talk about the particular theme of Advent we are celebrating for that week.

We've seen an excitement over the intentionality of doing this tradition. We have learned that it doesn't have to be a complicated tradition to make it important. We have realized that by marking this moment in time, our kids are joyful and look forward to this tradition.

If I can encourage others it would be with this: What your kids remember you doing are things that you did intentionally even if they are not magnificent and complicated. They will just remember what you did on purpose. I've been surprised by what my kids remember and think are special. It's the effort that makes something special. It gives me a sense of gratitude that my kids have grasped something that we have helped make space in time. That it's not all busy and rush. We get to stop and remember that Advent and Christmas is about Jesus's coming and His birth and why He came. The fact that we can hope He is coming back.

Also, I encourage parents, and everyone, to not make it complicated. If it's watching a Christmas movie together, eating pizza or a special meal, something that can create a great tradition that your kids will remember, just try it. The intentionality behind what you are leading will develop those strong memories associated with family and Advent and Christmas that can be important in the same way that sometimes a regular family devotion can be important. It's connecting your kids to you and to your faith and together. Those memories become powerful." - The Julian Family



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