Familiar Joy Celebrating Advent

Familiar

Boxes and boxes filled with decorations. Each one familiar, but precious, because each carries a memory. Most bring a smile. A few cause a tear or two to trickle slowly down my cheeks. Each fills my heart with joy.

This year, there’s also unfamiliar. A new house. Where do things belong? Some have a familiar spot. Santa and elf mugs go on the teacup shelf, the row of Santas on the top.

I think I found the perfect spot for the nativity with the Scripture verses. This year I’ll add tiny lights and a wooden tree that says O Holy Night, Van’s favorite Christmas carol.

The advent wreath sits in the place of honor in the center of the living room on the coffee table.

Celebrating the Familiar Through Advent

This year, we have a new wreath. Our fifth. We started lighting advent candles in 1982 when Kimberly was five, and Erin was three.

Every Sunday we lit a candle, read a verse, and sang a carol. In the middle of all the decorations and gifts and Santa, we wanted Jesus to remain the focus of our celebration. We wanted our girls to remember and cherish the Savior. Immanuel. God with us.

Advent means coming. All through December, we live with the joy of remembering the coming of Jesus.

  • Jesus coming to earth in the form of a baby. God coming to save us through His Son.
  • Jesus coming to live in our hearts. His constant presence. Never leaving or forsaking us. Helping and guiding and comforting. Providing peace that passes understanding. Cultivating the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Jesus coming again to take us to our eternal home. Reign with love and peace as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
A Break from the Familiar Whirlwind of Activity

Through this season of celebration, I pray you find joy in remembering the coming of Jesus. The hope and joy you have in Christ take center stage, overwhelming you with peace even in the midst of juggling too many things to do and not enough time to accomplish it all. I pray you find time to reflect on the gift of Jesus. In the familiar traditions, the whirlwind of activity, mounds of pretty packages, you celebrate the coming of Immanuel.

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Author: Debbie Putman

I am a child of God, seeking to trust Him in every joy and sorrow. Sharing my walk is my husband, Van. God blessed me with two beautiful daughters and three delightful grandchildren. I teach seventh grade English and History, love to read and bake cookies, watch the birds in my backyard, and the ocean.

15 thoughts on “Familiar Joy Celebrating Advent”

    1. It’s a good one. I tend to change from season to season. For many years, when I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do, I clung to Away in a Manger, remembering nothing went according to the way Mary would have preferred the birth of her baby. It reminded me I only needed one thing, Jesus. I’ll always have a soft spot for Joy to the World because I want to live a life of joy. Right now, I love Mary Did You Know because it’s beautiful and shows both the humanity and deity of Christ. Merry Christmas, friend.

  1. Debbie I’m right there with you reading through this, especially the part about the ornaments and how special they are. I bought the Shepherd on the Search this year for both our adult kids families. We’ve got 5 grands 4 and under. It is truly a teaching thing for little ones. I tried the advent candles two years ago, order an advent wreath and didn’t like it. You’ve inspired me to try again.

    1. I love sharing traditions with my daughter and grandchildren. I love the advent wreath because it serves as a reminder of the reason I celebrate Christmas. I’m sure you have your own traditions that do the same for you.

  2. We do the Jesse Tree for Advent. It involves daily readings and I love having our focus turned to Jesus each and every day. Our girls love hanging the ornaments on the tree (there is one for each reading).

    1. Our girls loved hanging the cross-stitched ornaments I made, one for each day that accompanied the Scripture we read, on the fabric tree. Each Sunday they lit the candle and added a corresponding ornament. Praying your family is blessed as you focus on Jesus this December.

  3. You know, we don’t have an advent wreath and I have always wanted one. I love the marking of the journey in a physical way. We are not decorating much this year, as we will be heading to my husband’s family…which is itself kind of a blessing. Something about sifting through the decorations and choosing only what it most significant to us has made me sentimental. I do want a wreath now though.

    1. Jamie, I highly recommend an Advent wreath. Even when our girls were little, 3 and 5, and we helped them light the candles, we planted the seeds of Jesus being the reason for the decorations and presents. They didn’t understand all the verses until they were much older, but they heard His Word. We took the wreath with us when we weren’t home for Christmas and a couple of times took it to the hospital when one of them was sick. As adults they made their own wreaths and joy floods my heart watching my grandchildren celebrate Advent. Praying your Christmas is filled with joy.

    1. Andrew, Christ shines through your words. I’m thankful you could read and respond today. Praying He fills you with His peace as you rely on Him.

  4. Last year we were in a new house so the process of decorating the home took more time but was also great for reflection! It forced me to look and reminisce. I also got to add more decorations and new traditions. As my children get older I want our decorations to be more Christ-centered as opposed to societies version of Christmas.

    1. Melissa, I had to pare down my decorations since we downsized. And we’ll always have a mixture of Santa and elves since those combine my husband’s traditions with my own. But the centerpiece is our creche and advent wreath and the focus on Christ when we light the candles and read His Word.

  5. This is lovely, Debbie! There is something beautiful about bringing out the familiar Christmas decorations and thinking of the memories that go with them, and it is so important to take some time to slow down in the midst of the celebrations and remember why we do it.

    1. Me, too, Lesley! I love the truth that no matter how our circumstances and surroundings change, we are celebrating a changeless God. The routine of celebration does slow me down, and for this I’m very thankful!

    2. Yes, Lesley, slowing down to remember why we do all the crazy things we do to make Christmas memorable. May your Christmas be filled with joy!

Thank you for joining me on my journey with God in uncharted water. Please let me know how He is working in your life.