Family traditions and memory-making are very important to me. When we moved to China originally, I worked feverishly to finish up my Creative Memories albums and I dragged three giant albums of pictures here with us, much to JavaMan’s chagrin (it meant he could pack less coffee).
But I haven’t regretted it–and JavaMan would agree. It’s been wonderful to have those albums full of memories. Our kids regularly pull them out and have us recount the stories behind the pictures. Each of them has a special memory or two of our life B.C. (before China).
Some things didn’t make the cut when we were packing, and that goes for some of our favorite Christmas things–things that made up traditions we kept each year. It was tough leaving them out. In addition, some things are harder to do here, like Truth in the Tinsel, which we did last year. Although we’d love to do it again, the supplies are just too hard to come by here.
One thing we have done every year, however, is read one of the trilogy of Advent books by Arnold Ytreeide:
This year, we’re using Bartholomew’s Passage. Each story features a first-century child. All the childrens’ lives intersect, and at the conclusion of each story, the children find themselves witness to a special event in Bethlehem, although each child sees the event from a slightly different perspective.
The stories are exciting–there is a cliffhanger at the end of each day’s reading–and there is a brief meditation at the end of each chapter that gives a chance to pause and think about the true meaning of the season as we celebrate Advent: the coming of the Savior.
This is the first year we’re also going to use the Jesse Tree. Since all the activities are free and printable from Ann Voskamp’s blog, it made the perfect substitute for the ones we left behind back “home.”
Advent begins tomorrow, December 2. What will you do to celebrate?