Our Advent celebration got off to a good start last night. I loved how they looked forward to it all day. Things do change some as they get older. Bug had an activity at school and I had a different meeting and wasn't going to be home at bedtime, so we ended up doing it before he and I had to leave.
There was the usual squabble over who got to open the door on the "Christmas house" (our Advent calendar). The little one doesn't quite get the "He'll do it tonight, you'll do it tomorrow" concept. My goal is to ultimately have two ornaments behind each door so they both get to pull one out and hang it on the tree each night. (Ultimately I want to have two of everything so they'll have their own set.)
Story time is the perfect addition to the process; you can tell they really don't want it to end. I love being able to tell the Nativity story in a dozen (or two) different ways between now and Christmas. Whatever else they may or many not understand about the Bible, they'll know the significance behind Christmas.
I left a new bedtime story that I picked up after Christmas last year. Waiting for Christmas: A Story about the Advent Calendar by Kathleen Long Bostrom (Zondervan, 2009) explains how Advent calendars might have come about and gives a nice story about waiting for something important. It includes an Advent calendar and stickers to start your own marking off the days until Christmas. It's even available as an eBook if you want to get started with it right away and don't have easy access to a Christian bookstore.
Tonight we'll be reading from The Lion Book of 5-Minute Christmas Stories. Told by John Goodwin (Lion Children's, 2007). This is another of the collections that we'll return to several times. Each of the ten chapters creates a short story around one person or situation described in the Nativity story.
For example, tonight's story is a first-person account of Mary's visit by Gabriel and her conversation with her mother afterward. It takes some literary license, but I think it's a nice way to help the boys understand that the people we read about in the Bible existed beyond the brief glimpses of them that we see there.
What's on your Advent agenda today?