We’ve entered the darkness of Advent, a quiet season in which we look forward, forward to hope, to joy, to peace. May your waiting time be filled with deep joy.
Around the Web
Holidays When Things are Messy: Think of “The Four” (How to Prepare for Advent & Christmas When Life’s Kinda Messed Up)
Ann Voskamp reminds us that Advent means coming.
- Snow’s coming down here now like confetti for a party that just won’t stop and the orchard just keeps on welcoming the whole thing.
That’s what Advent means — coming.
This waiting for the coming of the holy party.
And Kai’s shaking trees like a big kid at the party and grinning that there are apples still hanging on the trees in the orchard in the middle of all our shaking snow globe.
Keeping the Feast
Lanier Ivester reflects on keeping the feast in faith, even when the days are dark.
- We hosted Thanksgiving here on Thursday, a thing neither of us would have thought possible a year ago. I’d been looking forward to it for weeks—months—as a bold, joyous articulation of the restoration that’s been wrought in our lives and in our home over the past year and-a-half, and the endless “to-do” list I’d been curating reflected the overflowing anticipation of my heart. The thought of filling these rooms once more with the scents, sounds, and glad fellowship of a feast was as clear and poignant a picture of redemption as I’ve ever known, and I couldn’t wait to experience the reality.
Reflections on A Christmas Carol
Is Dickens’ classic a part of your December traditions? If not, maybe it could be with these resources from Redeemed Reader.
- Planning to watch A Christmas Carol this year? Have you read the original story? It’s definitely worth reading if you’ve only ever seen the movie (it was a book first!).
Helping Children Pray Like Daniel
Alison Mitchell points us to the story of Jesus through Daniel’s tale.
- What would you say if I asked if you have any habits? Why not stop to choose three—right now—before reading on…
I find that most people answer that question by giving some of their bad habits. Maybe they crack their knuckles, or are always late for meetings, or pick their nose. But habits can be good as well as bad, and the account in Daniel 6 tells us that Daniel had a very good habit indeed:
Daniel … went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (Dan. 6:10)
What was Daniel’s habit? Daniel prayed.
Around the Warren
An Audience of Two
Glenn McCarty reminds us that small is no less of value.
- MI’m not trying to brag here, but last night, I struck improv comedy gold. It was the kind of hot streak I imagine professionals in the glittering hotbeds of comedy – you know, like Hollywood or Vegas, or the Big Apple – dream of.
Thoughtful Gifts for Thoughtful Kids
Kelly Keller give us some categories to think about as we’re looking for gifts for the kids in our lives.
- It’s that time of year, folks! Is your shopping list overwhelming? I hope not. If you have young readers or book lovers in your home, you probably have already bought a few volumes for gifts. I have a few children who would be content with just new books for Christmas! However, I like to mix it up. In case you’re the same as me, I enlisted the help of my houseful of bookish kids to make the following list of gift suggestions of Thoughtful Gifts (That Aren’t Books) For Thoughtful Kids:
Melissa Kline marks the moments of endings and beginnings–the marker of growing up.
- My youngest turns four years old next week, and it hurts to even write that. Last month, my six-year old lost a tooth – one of the big ones right in front. She cried and I cried and we held each other for an hour, not because the tooth drawing was so painful, but because growing up is, and she knows it already. Yesterday, my seven-year old bemoaned the fact that he is getting so old, and won’t be able to remember everything that’s happened to him anymore.
Christmas Picture Book Advent
Anne Marshall recommends picture books for this season.
- As Christmas approaches with all the excitement and preparation, I also try to turn my children’s hearts and minds toward the celebration of Christ’s birth, the miracle of his coming and the anticipation of his return.
Many years ago when my children were babies I was fortunate enough to come across the idea of a Picture Book Advent using whole and living picture books through Sally Clarkson’s ministry (www.sallyclarkson.com). She described how she wrapped 24 picture books every year and placed them in a basket. Starting December 1st they would open a book each day and read it together.
Something to Do with Your Kids
There are usually an abundance of activities available to do as a family during December, but in case you’re stuck for ideas, here’s a great list.
Something to Watch
If you’re near my age, you remember Silly Songs with the affection of a teenager who pretended that she watched Veggie Tales for the kids she was babysitting and not for herself. If you’re younger, you might not have had to pretend. Whatever your state, here’s an awesome trip down memory lane with Larry the Cucumber himself (and our friends Andrew Peterson and Randall Goodgame wearing their Silly Song Songwriter hats).
Thanks for reading. We’re on your side.
-The Story Warren Team