Monday, 26 November 2012

A New Christmas Tradition

With Zoe discharged from the hospital and feeling a bit better, I am ready to focus on Christmas.  Singing a Christmas carol yesterday at church really sealed the deal for me, and I spent the remainder of the service daydreaming about this most wonderful time of year!  Last year, my family and I started a brand new Christmas tradition, and, in all honesty, it has become my absolute favourite.  It is an Advent, scripture chain, where each evening we, as a family, gather together and read a Christmas-related scripture to count down the days to Christmas.  It is so simple, but oh, so very sweet!  Just before bed, I would pull out some Christmas cookies, we would light my grandmother's candelabra, turn off the lights, and snuggle on the couch, while Mr. Level-Headed read the evening's scripture passage.  This simple routine brought more Christmas spirit into our home and into our hearts than any amount of presents, songs, or candy could ever do.  It was amazing!  In fact, it saved Christmas for me last year.  It was last December when I suffered my first miscarriage, which left me feeling discouraged and overwhelmed during one of the busiest and most important times of the year.  I really did not know how I was going to pull it together for my young family, but I did, and the scripture chain helped me.  No matter how hard or busy the day was, I had a quiet, peaceful evening to look forward to with my family, and the time spent with those I love the most discussing our Savior, Jesus Christ, healed my wounded heart and uplifted my weary soul.  It helped us to focus on what truly mattered in life and what the season is truly all about.  Christmas is about family.  It is about peace, hope, and joy, and that is exactly what our Advent scripture chain welcomed into our home.

So, because I know you are now dying to make your very own Advent scripture chain, I thought I would post some pictures of how I made ours last night.  Now, before you go and think: "Ooooh!  That Krista is so creative!", I have to confess that I pilfered this idea from someone else's blog last year, but sadly, I no longer remember where it can from.  Eeek!

1.  The first thing you need to do is to find the scripture passages you want to read.  Google makes this so easy!  Just type in Advent scripture chain along with your particular faith, and voila, there are a ton of links, where people have already done the work for you.  Brilliant!  Here is the link to the scripture chain we are using this year.  It is an LDS one because it uses the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Book of Mormon, but if this is not your thing, you can find one that better suits you.  But, I would highly suggest you use this one . . . tee hee!

2.  Then you cut some Christmas-coloured construction paper into strips.  This step was made so much easier with my my brand new paper trimmer.  Hallelujah!  My days of crooked edges are no more.  Who owns a paper trimmer, you ask?  Well, the same girl who also owns a laminator  . . . tee hee!  I am such a geek!

3.  If you are artistically-challenged like myself, you will want to print a large star template off the computer, cut it out, and use it to make your own star.  You could just colour the star you printed off in yellow, but I like my star to be made out of card stock.  Why?  Ummmm . . . actually, there is no real good reason.  That's just the way I do it.  

4.  Then decorate your star whichever way you want.  This year, I chose one of my favourite scripture passages (John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son) and glitter, lots of glitter!

5.  Now, here comes the fun part:  making the paper chain.  Alternating colours, print the day on one side of the strip and write the scripture passages on the other side.  Then loop your strip through the previous one and tape it together.  Easy cheesy!

6.   Attach the paper chain to the star with a ribbon, and hang it up in a prominent spot in your home so that you will never forget to do it.  (Really, though, your kids will not let you forget about it because it quickly becomes a treasured routine.)

My entry way
7.  This is the most important step!  Stock your home with yummy Christmas treats to nibble on during your scripture study.  I plan on making some cookies this Saturday morning (the first day of December) and freezing them.   Also, I have decided to get everyone their very own Christmas mug and fill it with hot chocolate or hot apple cider each evening.  This tradition just gets better and better!

8.  Beginning December 1, gather your family together each evening by candlelight, feast upon the words of the Lord, and let the true meaning of Christmas enter into your heart, your mind, and your soul.

I promise this will be your greatest Christmas ever!

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