Paul Jones, a member of Christ Church Walkley, and an elder, explains how he and his family use an advent candle to prepare well for Christmas.
Advent is a great time of year. We are all looking forward to Christmas and all that it brings; decorating the house, time off, time with family, presents, pigs in blankets, carols, a nativity and maybe a decent movie.
With all that is going on then sometimes it is hard to focus on what we celebrate at Christmas. I wonder if we actually timed ourselves and recorded how much time we spend doing “Christmas stuff” how much of it would actually be Jesus related? Even writing that, I’m convicted myself.
Over the past few years, one of the things we have looked to do as a family is to use an Advent Candle to help us prepare for Christmas and get our focus onto Jesus. The one that we use lists 25 names that Jesus is given throughout the Bible, one for each day in December. We have found it a really simple way to talk about the importance of Jesus, Christmas and the Bible with the boys.
In previous years we have paired the names on the candle with verses in the Bible. So every day at tea time we light the candle and then read the verse. It has been a great way to teach the boys, and ourselves, that the story of Jesus doesn’t start in Bethlehem but runs throughout scripture.
This year we have taken a slightly different appraoch, as the boys are that little bit older we have this year decided to incorporate a little bit more “in-depth” teaching about each name. Explaining what it means and why it’s important that Jesus is...The Messiah (That was today’s). Then we’ve include this as part of our prayer before tea. Our tea time prayer is generally thanking God for our food and we also pray through the church family using the prayer diary. It has been really good to include praying for, and thanking God for all the Bible tells us that Jesus is.
We do find it harder to look forward to the second Advent, and the return of Christ, but hopefully we remember to include this in our conversations over tea!
Our hope and prayer as parents is that these times round the table would really help us and the boys to grasp the joy of the incarnation – and it’s a great way to count down to Christmas too!!