“We always…” Those are words my kids always used when we were thinking ahead to our annual summer trip to the beach or to visit their cousin’s house at Thanksgiving in Virginia. They are also sentiments expressed even today in early December when family talk turns to Christmas. Now that our kids are grown, they recall what was meaningful about our Christmas celebrations as children. We have lots of traditions in our family. We don’t listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving dinner.  We do make lots and lots of cookies – and different kinds.  We always serve cookies on Christmas Eve as we sit by the tree together.  We open stockings first thing when we get up… even before coffee.  Then we have to wait for grandparents to arrive before opening gifts.  You get the idea.  “We always… do it this way.” And our kids always looked forward to the intentional traditional ways of doing things.

Advent is one of those traditions. It’s one that can be celebrated individually, with a spouse, or in a family.

My heart as Director of FellowshipKids here at FCC has been focused, even directed by God’s Spirit, to think about parents and how they share Christ with their kids at home.  As a former homeschool mom, when my kids were young, it was easy to “add Bible” into our family life. Since my kids didn’t rush out to school in the morning, my husband and I had time with them at breakfast, and I could add certain devotional books or Bible lesson books into their school time. 

But NOW I am watching my own children with their preschoolers and they are so busy!  My grandchildren go to PreK programs, and my daughter and daughter-in-law both work. Some of you might be in that same position. Or… some of you might be grandmoms and granddads with partial babysitting duty. How do you teach your children about God in the midst of your on-the-go lifestyle? One way to do that is through establishing and enjoying traditions. Through practices, both daily and seasonal, you can bring God into your daily routines and into your seasonal celebrations.

It might be interesting for you to know that the worldwide church  follows a seasonal calendar focusing on the 2 major events in Jesus’ life –the welcome of His incarnation and the victory of His resurrection. Celebration of His incarnation involves:

  • Advent – 4 Sundays before Christmas and ending on Christmas day
  • Christmastide – 12 days between Christmas Day and Jan 6
  • Epiphany – Jan 6 – the day the kings visited Jesus

Why is this important for the discipling of our children? God commanded adults in the Old Testament to “remember”. To do this they were to feast, to sacrifice, to come together. If you study the Jewish feasts in the Old Testament, it is a fascinating study of remembrance. God commands His people to remember what He has done. He also commands adults to pass this faith on to the next generation. This is a mandate whether we have our own children or not. Our faith in God is to be shared with other adults in our lives and with children, whether our own or our nieces, nephews, or grandchildren. We share what we know. We love God and know his Son. This is what we share in our practices with our kids. And we do it intentionally when we plan traditions.

At FCC we focus on the Living Nativity. Many of us own nativity scenes at home. It’s so easy to get them out of the box and put them on the same mantle or hall table without thinking much about them. But what if they were to become central to our traditions this Christmas? What if we started a second Advent tradition this year, in addition to lighting the candles – with whomever lives in our house with us? Each Nativity piece has its own story and Scripture to read with it. Let’s use them this year to bring meaning to our holiday traditions.

Lisa Meyers
Director, FellowshipKids


Three resources:

Treasuring God in our Traditions – Noel Piper, 2003

Shadow and Light – Tish Oxenreider (2020) – a bit more liturgical, but beautiful thoughts about  practicing Advent.

She Reads Truth also does an annual Advent readings book – which they update annually.