Like many parents, I wanted my children to keep the actual meaning of Christmas at the forefront of their mind during Advent. This is no small task living in a culture that is constantly reassigning new meanings to the holiday. The world’s “True Meaning of Christmas” ranges anywhere from:
- the spirit of giving
- spending time with family
- finding true love
- not being a workaholic
- giving your heart to someone special
- saving your wife from European terrorists.
Very often, the whole point of the holiday, Christ, is completely overlooked or, at least, buried under a mountain of materialism.
Trying to infuse meaning into our Advent season, I tried a couple of children’s Advent devotionals. They were frustratingly long. Other people must have far more patient (and deep) kids than I do.
I also tried several Jesse Trees. The journey from Creation to the Nativity was kind of disjointed. There was no natural flow. Each tree seemed to use the same core ornaments of the Creation, the Fall, Noah, the Patriarchs, Moses, King David, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Joseph and the Blessed Mother. From there, it was anyone’s guess what other ornaments would pop up.
- The Tower of Babel
- King Solomon
- several ornaments just for Moses
The variation appeared endless and there didn’t seem to be a straight road to travel from Creation to Christ.
When I set out to write Christmas for Beginners for my children, that’s what I wanted: a clear story arc from the beginning of time to when God broke into time. I wanted my kids to have some kind of comprehension of the, sometimes very painful, journey the people of Israel had to take in order to prepare humanity for the coming of its savior. On December 25th, I wanted them to say, “That was a long wait! Thank God He’s here!”
So, I just started at the beginning and made sure each Day got us a little closer to the birthday boy, be it through people or events.
There are short summaries on each day for little kids and people with small attention spans. There are longer readings for bigger kids (and grown-ups) that want to delve in a little deeper and Bible verses in parenthesis throughout in case anyone wants to dive in really deep. And my hope is that it will get people kind of excited to want to dive in really deep because it’s such an incredible story and journey getting to the birth of our savior!
It’s 25 days and here’s what’s included:
- Creation of Adam and Eve
- The Fall of Man
- Judah and Joseph
- Judges and Ruth
- The Kingdom Divides
- The Prophet Isaiah
- Assyria and the Conquering of Israel
- Judah and the Babylonian Exile
- Exile- The Northern Kingdom
- Exile – the Southern Kingdom
- The Return from Exile
- The Maccabees
- John the Baptist
- The Birth of Jesus
I hope it makes for a fruitful Advent!