A Way Through Advent

Welcome to my blog! So glad you’re here. I dusted this space off and started using it again because I’ve found that my soul is more alert and awake when I’m writing, so consider this the first of many entries full of stories and songs and #realtalk.

Cheers to telling the truth and knowing that we’re all in this together,

Ellie

A Way Through Advent

Happy Holidays y’all! We just celebrated Thanksgiving, but they put up Christmas decorations in Target before we ever went trick-or-treating. Love you Target, but let us dress up in costumes and get candy before we see Christmas trees as we walk through your doors, k?

While this season is a very sweet one, it is also fast and busy, a flurry of parties and gift-buying. I found myself longing to slow things down last December. I wanted to talk to my daughter about the real meaning of Christmas. She had just turned three and was asking all kinds of questions! Here’s how one of those conversations went:

Me: Emmylou, did you know that Christmas is really all about Jesus being born and coming to rescue us?!
Her: But what about Santa, mom?
Me: Well, Santa gives us gifts because the wise men gave baby Jesus gifts…(trailing off b/c i don’t know what I’m saying)...and we give each other gifts to remind one another that God has given us the gift of His love.
Her: OH!!! So Jesus lives in the North Pole!
Me: “Oh dear.”
Her: Yeah mom, like the reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh!

It was ROUGH, guys. I LOVE the magic of Christmas, there’s an innocence and an excitement that comes with this season. Please don’t hear me say that I’m hating on Elf, or Santa, or gift-giving, or Christmas lights, or the magic of believing. I just found myself looking for another way through Advent last year, so I asked around and found out from some of my momma friends that one of my favorite books that tells the story of the gospel, The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones, is actually a wonderful companion for the advent season.

Sidenote: If you do not already own this book, please stop what you are doing right now and go get one. I love the subtitle, “Every Story Whispers His Name.” In The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally tells the stories you grew up hearing in Sunday school, but at the end of each one, she beautifully illustrates how every story points back to Jesus himself. It has been a huge gift to our children, but also to me and Drew as we read the story of God’s love for them aloud. You can get a copy here:

There just so happen to be exactly 25 stories leading up to the arrival of baby Jesus. Sally is a friend of mine, and would you believe that she didn’t even plan it that way? I love how God just works those things out. I wanted to slow down and remember what this whole season is really about, and I wanted to be able to do that with my kids as well, so I decided to read one of Sally’s beautiful stories each day of Advent.

Another friend told me about a website where you could go print off ornaments that the kids can color while you read. This was one of my favorite things to do last December. We’d start our days with a story and with coloring an ornament, and then we’d “hang” them on our “Advent tree,” which is really just simple paper triangles taped to the laundry room door.

 
Emmylou taping our final ornament to our advent tree last year.

Emmylou taping our final ornament to our advent tree last year.

 

I truly think it helped us slow down to hear the heartbeat of God’s love for us during a noisy & busy season. So….if you’re 2 or 22 or 92, and you’re looking for a way to remember the story of God’s love for us, for a way to slow the pace and to give this Advent season more meaning, join me and my family as we read through the first 25 stories in The Jesus Storybook Bible this year. Cheers to you for joining me here on the blog today, cheers to this beautiful season and cheers to remembering what it’s all about.

Get a FREE download of the Jesus Storybook Bible Ornaments here