This post is part of the 2018 Homeschooling Through the Holidays series.
Advent is a time of joyful and expectant waiting. Don’t buy into society’s hype which rushes you into the Christmas season way too soon. The Christmas season actually begins on Christmas Eve, December 24th! Waiting for Christmas, and celebrating Advent in its fullness, only makes the Christmas season more joyful. Now that you have tweens and teens, the cute crafts and stories aren’t enough. Now is the time when your kids can really understand and internalize the reason for Advent. Here are our top five tips for celebrating Advent with your older kids.
1. Make Sacrifices
Lent is a time of sacrifice, however, you can also make some sacrifices during Advent because Jesus was born to be sacrificed for us. Your sacrifice cane something as simple as leaving the last squeeze of ketchup in the container for your sister, even though you really, really dislike eating your scrambled eggs without ketchup. You can make big sacrifices, too. The idea is to remember Jesus, and why he came.
2. Don’t Complete Your Nativity
What would Christmas be without the nativity? Leave the baby Jesus out of your Nativity scene during Advent. I read about one family who has a large outdoor nativity. They “move” the pieces of their nativity scene toward their front yard slowly during Advent, as if the Holy Family were making their way toward Bethlehem. Then, on Christmas, they place baby Jesus in the manger.
3. Don’t listen to Christmas music.
I know, I know. No Christmas music, you say? How can it be Christmas without Christmas songs? Exactly! It’s not Christmas yet, so play alternatives such as:
Advent Procession Based on the Great O Antiphons – O Antiphons are songs that have been read or sung during special times of prayer since the 8th century. Each antiphon is addressed to God using a noble title for the Messiah, each antiphon petitions Him to come save His people, and each is tied to Mary because she is the vessel through which the Savior will be born.
Advent at Ephesus – Beautiful Advent music sung by very talented religious sisters.
Gregorian Chants: The Best of the Benedictine Monks of St. Michael’s – Gregorian chant is more than music; it is poetry, prayer and meditation. We enjoy listing to Gregorian chant all year long.
4. Prepare Your Mind
Be mindful of the things you are putting into your mind during Advent. Save space in your mind for thinking deeply about the coming of Jesus. Read good, spiritual books like these:
Mission Christian the Journal for Young Christians on a Mission – My girls have really enjoyed these. The book contains questions and activities that require critical thinking.
Read some books about the Saints. We love the Encounter the Saints series. They are short, quick reads, that are enjoyable.
Sign up for your Best Advent Ever to receive daily inspiration during Advent from well known Catholic speaker, Matthew Kelly. All Christians, not only Catholics will be inspired and motivated by Matthew Kelly.
5. Use Our “Daily Reflections for Advent – For Teens” Cards
Let these free printable cards guide you as you reflect in your own journal. Writing down your thoughts is a good way to connect with Jesus, Mary and Joseph during this season of expectation. Choose one card each day and reflect in your journal. It is great to look back on these journals to see your spiritual growth.
Choose one card each day and discuss the idea with your family. Make it a dinner-time activity. See if your thoughts differ from your younger siblings or your parents. Take your time, and reflect. Put yourself back in time and journey with the Holy Family in your imagination, then talk about it.
Remember: there is no reason to rush the season. Spend Advent preparing your heart for the coming of Christ, and you’ll enjoy the Christmas season that much more.
Terri L. Hedrick, M.S. is a Catholic homeschool mom to two teens. She is also an online instructor to hospital-homebound students, a homeschool consultant and curriculum creator. She blogs about homeschooling and homesteading at Our Happy Medium. When she’s not working, you can find her in her garden or up on top of her horse.
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