We are thrilled to have Amy back with a fantastic free advent resource! It’s not too late to dive into it. Please consider giving to their family’s water fund if you download “A Great Light.” The picture below is the beautiful quilted & felt awesomeness that Amy & her mom made to go along with the resource!
A couple of years ago, I found myself sitting on the floor of my boys’ room surrounded by an Advent devotional, a nativity picture book, and my Bible ready to begin what I was sure was going to be a glorious Advent celebration–one that my children would remember from year to year and look forward to each December. Instead, one child was scowling, one pouting, and one jumping all over the place. My patient husband eyed me across the room, his expression communicating, “This isn’t working.” The image built up in my mind was not meshing with the reality before me.
I desperately wanted Advent—the celebration of the coming of Christ—to be a rich and joyful season of our family. So after the disaster of that night, I took a deep breath and started fresh. My square-peg-in-a-round-hole family wasn’t going to go along with any Advent curriculum already available. If we were going to celebrate Advent, it was going to be in our own way. Thus, our Great Light devotional began.
One of my favorite images in Scripture is light. God’s words “Let there be light” begins creation. The pillar of light guides the wandering Israelites. The Sun of Righteousness promises healing. And all of heaven will be illuminated by the shining glory of Jesus.
Isaiah prophesied that the nations that walked in darkness would see a great light. That’s where we begin this Advent devotional–with a dark, empty sky and the darkness and ignorance of our sinful hearts. In comes the promised light of the world—our Savior, Christ the Lord.
With paint and paper, my oldest and I painted a dark night sky and rolling hills. We cut out stars and used our metallic pens and glitter to write names of Christ—Mighty God, Emmanuel, Prince of Peace—on them. Each night, we read Scripture and added a star to our night sky. Each night, the light of the stars penetrated the darkness more and more until they filled the sky with the truth of his arrival. We sang or listened to music ranging from Handel’s Messiah to “My God is So Big.”
And it worked for us. Something clicked in the imagery and the themes and these lessons worked. I’m studying my children more and more and figuring them out as God reveals their personalities and learning styles, how and when to approach them, how to be ready for whatever they may ask or whenever they want to talk. What’s more, my heart and mind have been filled to overflowing as I put together the lessons for my children. I have been encouraged to rediscover the joy of the miracle of God dwelling among us. We might not always do these Advent lessons. Dynamics and age and interest and attention spans change year to year and we’ll adapt. And though there could still be scowling or pouting or jumping on any given night, that’s okay too.
The Christmas story, God’s incredible plan of salvation, joyfully astounds me and brings me to tears every year. Again and again, I want to say with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest!”
Drop box link for free devotional:
Link to donation for water: