December Traditions

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by Laura

My most vivid memories of growing up center around specific holidays. My parents took the time to create traditions for each celebration day.  Perhaps this is why so many couples argue when it comes to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they want it done THEIR way because those memories are what makes it feel special and that is what makes it Christmas!  

This is so true for me.  Christmas Eve means church and driving around looking at Christmas lights and sleeping in the living room with my sisters.  Christmas morning means waking up and getting every one in the living room before we opened up stockings.  There was bacon on Christmas morning and wrapping paper everywhere and apples and oranges in the stockings.  

Deviating from these things was difficult for me early on in our marriage because there was so much association with Laura’s Memories=Christmas. When you add my husband’s completely different memories and traditions into that and merge the two, it can be stressful to make the day feel special for both people.  

Very little Eric on Christmas Morning

We had to work really hard and talk almost ad nauseous about our expectations and what each person wanted to do from December 24 until the 25th was over.  I believe there will always be a little nostalgia and sadness that our new family together doesn’t do things exactly how I did as a child, but I love the new memories and traditions we create as husband and wife, and now our children will come to know our traditions as what makes Christmas special to them.  

Our advent wreath and devotional

In our family we begin Christmas preparations early by doing a devotional every day centered around the advent wreath.  After dinner we pull out the matches and we light the appropriate numbers of candles, turn off the lights, and read a special book in the glow of the flame.  We also started doing a children’s  Jesse Tree  devotional three years ago which follows the story of how Jesus is woven into the entire Bible from beginning to birth.  Each day we have a Jesse Tree reading and put the complimentary ornament on the tree.  This year I made 25 felt ornaments for our Jesse Tree!

There are many ways to uphold your own traditions, begin your own, and create special memories with your children and I encourage you to do so!  The more traditions you have in your family the stronger their association to your family will be.  

We were just reading in a book recently that kids whose families have nightly or weekly traditions are more likely to stay at home or want to be at home so they don’t miss out.  This makes us all the more motivated to want to make our family feel fun and alive for our kids.  

New Years Eve is approaching!  What traditions do you remember from your own child hood and what do you do now as a family?   

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Family Easter Devotional

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by Laura

Easter.  What is the first thing that comes to your mind?  Is it jelly beans?  The chocolate bunnies?  Coordinating outfits and lace gloves from your childhood?

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It is hard to get into the celebration of the true meaning of Easter, especially when there’s a ham to glaze, dress to buy, eggs to hide.

Easter afternoon just a few weeks before Malachi was born!

Easter afternoon just a few weeks before Malachi was born!

Sure, Good Friday service and Sunday morning help us reflect on the holiday that surrounds Jesus’ death and resurrection.  But, a few years ago, I wondered if there was something we could do as a family that would help visualize the events of passion week and be a fun and memorable way to anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

Supplies: Easter Basket, Bible, Paper Slips, and Towel.

Printable Version: click here! 

Good Friday

When you aren’t rushed and the kids are attentive, gather in a specific place like the kitchen table, circle on the living room floor, or a couch.  Get the family ready by saying, “It’s time to do an activity for Good Friday. We’re going to learn about what sin is and what God thinks about it.”  

If your children have a difficult time sitting still listening, you could have them color while you continue.  Here’s a few links to some coloring pages.

Then, you can share that:

When we do wrong things, when we disobey God’s law, it is called sin.

Our sin deserves God’s punishment.  God says that if we sin, we deserve death.  That sounds pretty strong-but that is God’s perfect rule.  So, Jesus, God’s son wanted to take our punishment away so that we wouldn’t have to die!  That is amazing!  Jesus died for our sin, not us.  

Then, continue with a simple scripture reading from Mark 15 about Jesus dying on a cross. Your older children could read Mark 15:1-39, but younger children will do better with Mark 15:24-37.

Transition to your activity by saying:

Today we are going to think of some of our sins that Jesus died for and write them down and put them in the basket, we will remember that Jesus took our sin away.

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Then, on the pieces of paper think of 1-3 sins/person and write each sin on a different piece of paper, then, put it in the basket.

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Examples of sin: hate, disobeying mommy or daddy, lying.

Then, read the following scripture. Romans 8:2. Cover the basket up with a towel and say, “Jesus covered our sins with his blood while he was on the cross, he took them all away, and then he died.”

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Take the basket out of the room telling the children, “Jesus died, and his body that carried our sin was taken away to be buried”. Hide it until Sunday.

Say a closing prayer thanking Jesus for taking our sin and our punishment away.

Easter

On Sunday, the basket can be filled with pieces of paper that tell what Jesus gives to those who love him (joy, peace, the Holy Spirit…), Easter eggs with treats, etc.  Anything celebratory of His resurrection!  You could hide the basket, or have them uncover it to reveal replacements inside!

Explain that “even though Jesus died as punishment for being with sin, he did not stay dead.  He had power over death.”  Read Mark 16:1-6.

Close by praying, or singing a fun song to celebrate!

Again, here’s the instructions with scripture printable.

Angela and I hope you have a wonderful Easter with your families!

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