In sharing the meaning of Christmas in a way that Juanito could understand, I shared that Christmas is the day that Jesus was born. We've been having interesting discussions about God…since Juanito cannot see God, he thinks that God is at work with Papi, all the time! True, but not in the way Juanito thinks. In contemplating that Jesus was born on Christmas, and that it is Jesus' birthday, Juanito asked me if we would have cake for Christmas! That question inspired my advent plan for the kids! First of all, Juanito has this really neat hanging advent calendar where you add character to the nativity scene each day. I took a photo since I have no clue where my mum found it for him! (This photo is courtesy of Amazon, since I have yet to dig out the calendar! I still have a few days, right?)
I was also given the book Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. My friend Sarah gave me this book as an early Christmas present! Although Juanito is a little young for the book's text, I love the idea that Ann shares about a Jesse Tree and the book came with the code to print out the ornaments. (If you have never heard of a Jesse Tree, you follow the lineage of Christ through Advent and hang corresponding ornaments on a tree…you can check out the Jesse Tree link to see what Ann Voskamp does.)
I am also going to give Juanito an ornament to color each day and then we will read the corresponding story in his children's Bible. In order to keep me organized, I wrote the day number and the Bible story on the back of each ornament! And then I'll let him hang them on the tree (I am not going to do two trees…I plan on letting Juanito add to our one family tree.)
I also wanted to incorporate the Compassion kids this Christmas and to spend extra time praying for them. In addition to the character and verse, I want to add a little wallet sized photo of one of our kids! And then we will pray for that child during the day. I hole punched the top of each photo and put a string so we could add the photos to our tree as well. I think Juanito will really enjoy this aspect…both praying for a Compassion sibling and hanging something on the tree! I wrote the name and country of each child on the back, just in case our guests want to know!
Also, in light of the fact that Juanito loves candles, I gave in and bought an advent ring and candles on Amazon. I think I will light the candles on Sundays to make them extra special! And then on Christmas Eve, we are going to have a cake with Jesus with my family! Finally, I bought two Christmas books in Spanish to read to my kids and I hope to include reading and singing with our small Advent time each day. One highlight for me, growing up, was the special songs and books we had during Christmas! I hope to pass on Christmas carols and the love of books to my kids! My kids are 2.5 and 8 months, so I am trying to keep Advent very simple, but I still want to prioritize the birth of our Lord while reminding the kids to pray for others! I don't want Christmas to be self-focused, but rather Christ-focused and a holiday of serving others. If you have ideas for little ones, I'd love to hear what you're doing!