Adoption journey

Over the past year, the Lord has been growing, teaching, and challenging our family in so many ways! We are responding to the Lord's leading and are expanding our family through the adoption of a precious baby!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas anticipation!

As a mom of 4 boys (10 and under), there is great excitement and anticipation as we near Christmas. My boys make Christmas wish lists, see boxes arriving on the porch from gracious grandparents and... and Amazon ;) While we decorate our tree, string lights on our home, and unpack our treasured nativity sets, I want to help my boys see and savor the real reason for our celebration. As we were driving in the van yesterday, I heard the song, "Mary, Did You Know?" on the radio and while I've heard this song dozens of times before, this line captured my attention and my heart leapt with the magnitude of this truth...

"Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.",

The same Jesus who spoke creation into existence, who had perfect fellowship with God the Father, and was constantly praised and adored by angels, chose to step down from His throne in heaven and join us on earth in the form of a babe. Wow! That's amazing LOVE! I want my boys (and myself) to stand in awe of Christ, this season and every day. Here are some of the books, devotions and traditions we do every Christmas season to open our eyes to the mystery and majesty of God coming down to us, in Christ's birth.

“Because some years you desperately don’t want a Christmas that can be bought,
or a Christmas you have to produce.
You want a Christmas you can hold.
A Christmas that holds you,
remakes you, revives you.
You want a Christmas that whispers: Jesus.”
-- Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp, author of 1000 Gifts, writes the most awe inspiring words. Her book, The Greatest Gift, truly unwraps the full love story of Christmas. These daily readings walks through the lineage of Christ with Scripture, prayer and devotions that help us set our gaze on Christ as we prepare to celebrate His birth.

Our boys LOVE going through Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree Devotional and putting one of the coordinating ornaments of the tree. The Jesse Tree also goes from Creation/Adam through the lineage of Christ. My boys LOVE this advent devotional and preparation for Christmas! I have a Jesse Tree devotional in a Word document and will happily send it to you! Just as I got together with group of about 30 women and exchanged Jesse Tree ornaments a couple years ago, I hope to get a group together to do this next year!

At a Family Ministry Conference 2 years ago, Josh and I heard from Sarah Cunningham, the author of The Donkey in the Living Room. This sweet children's devotional tells the story of each of the characters that were present at the birth of Christ and includes wooden characters to assist with storytelling.

Last year, we started reading The Biggest Story with our boys and were challenged by the in depth devotions and discussions in this beautiful book! Kevin DeYoung is one of Josh's favorite authors and he didn't disappoint in this book that helps kids' take classic stories and connect to Scripture’s overarching message about God’s glorious plan to redeem his rebellious people. Awesome book for everyone!!

Every Christmas Eve, we read several stories out of the Jesus Storybook Bible. There are even free videos to enjoy! Here are several other books and ideas for Christmas gifts in this post I wrote a few years ago.
The majority of our Christmas decorations revolve around nativity scenes... some from around the world (Burkina Faso, Malawi, and Nicaragua), as well as adorable kids' sets. Our boys enjoy acting out the Christmas story with the many nativity sets around our home. Their first and favorite was Veggie Tales nativity set! They enjoy playing with Daddy's old PlayMobil nativity set and the Little People set and I love hearing their sweet voices talk of the miraculous events that surround Christ's birth!

I would love to hear how you prepare to celebrate Christ's birth! What are your favorite family traditions?