27 years and counting! I made this Advent banner for our older boys’ second Christmas, and it has been a treasured tradition every year since. The banner and devotional are from Family Celebrations – Meeting Christ In Your Holidays and Special Occasions, by Ann Hibbard. It’s so sweet and simple – a Scripture, a short devotional, and a hymn to sing, and about five or six memory verses. I won’t pretend we always complete every day on time – we have had marathon sessions of three or four “patches” at a time, and more than once have started well after December 1 when Advent has crept up on us. After five years or so, at least some of us had the entire thing memorized, but that never made it any less magical or meaningful. In fact, I recall that once I floated the idea of looking for a new Advent devotional more “suited” to our teens. Let’s just say that suggestion was on par with the one last year that we dispense with the Christmas Eve pajama gift tradition since some of our kids were already grown and gone and presumably buying pajamas of their own choosing. Not happening.
Truly, it is suited to every age. The gospel is there – from the garden to the new heavens and the new earth, along with some of the most precious Scriptures and some of the most beautiful Christmas hymns (aka theology set to music) ever written. Our family has treasured up these things in our hearts. As a young mom, I just thought this looked like a fun thing to do, and a good way to share the true meaning of Christmas with my children. Plus it satisfied my desire to create something pretty. I did not realize what an enormous impact this seemingly small creative act would have on my children. Just one of many ways that the Lord has proven his steadfast covenant faithfulness to me and my family.
This year, with only four (and more often only two) of our six still at home, we faithfully began our devotion on December 1. Before my husband opened the book, the kids recited, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” He and I looked at each other, and decided it was time for new tradition – a passing of the baton. This year, the young folk are in charge of the daily devotional. At the end of each time of family worship, my husband will assign the next “patch” to a kiddo – and he or she must lead that next time, complete with appropriate Scripture and hymns. Kid #5 (just slightly older and taller now at seventeen, but no less adorable) got the first one. He did a very creditable job.
I’ve obtained six of the out-of-print books (plus one to replace our dilapidated copy) on Paperback Swap, and two more banners have been presented to our married kiddos. A second generation of Weitzes is beginning Advent Banner this year. The gospel goes forth. Praise be to the mighty Founder of Christmas.
. . .That they should teach them to their children,
That the generation to come might know,
even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments . . . ~ Psalm 78:5-7