Advent this year.

So let's take a look and see how I'm doing with my plan to keep advent simple, shall we?

All we have set up so far this holiday season is our piano display. I could have tidied up a bit and removed "Monsieur Mouse" but this is what it really looks like so I didn't. You're welcome.

There is our advent wreath, still lacking greenery. But I have to buy a bunch for decorating for the church potluck next week so I will definitely have some after that. No need to make an extra trip to the plant store with a newborn. We might even get our tree then. Last year we waited until the middle of the month but the guy who tied it up for us mentioned that it was a good thing we came when we did as they were sending all the trees back the next day and generally acted as if we must hate Christmas because we put it off sooo long. I resisted the urge to vent about how it used to be common practice to buy a tree Christmas eve so we really aren't as weird as he seemed to think. I don't really care what the tree guy thinks but I am a little worried this year that if we wait too long we won't get one. (And don't take this to mean I care when you put up your tree, I don't. Unless it's before Thanksgiving. Then you are just wrong.) And I'm not a total scrooge. We wait for our tree, but Norah gets to wear her Christmas jammies all month long.

Hmm, was that just a ploy to get a picture of her in here? Probably.

Then there is my lovely willow tree nativity set. We finally got the wise men addition and I just love it all. I do wish I could leave Jesus out of it until Christmas but he's attached to Mary (as he should be if she's a nursing mom ;-) ) so he stays. It didn't look like this when I set it up but even with a play set out as well, this one tends to get lovingly rearranged.

Our upcoming Christmas picture books (this isn't all of them!). We read one new one each night. Up next is one of my very favorites.

Below that is the well worn copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible. We read one chapter a night and it takes 24 days to get from Genesis to Jesus' birth. Not quite as long as advent but we always end up missing a day or two anyway. This might be our last year using this as our "study", at least on its own. But maybe not. It's so simple but I love getting a glimpse  of the whole story before we focus in our Jesus' birth.

And our little manger. The one I had made broke last year but the kids now like to build one out of blocks. We add a piece of straw every night after our reading and say the Come Lord Jesus prayer. Which goes, wait for it..."Come Lord Jesus, Amen." I still have to help Jonah on his nights as he tends to replace "Amen" with "the end" so we clearly aren't ready for anything more complicated than that yet. We'll add Jesus on Christmas.

 The nice thing about this is the kids can take turns, one gets to blow out the candles the other add the yarn "straw". Of course, now that we have three kids and two jobs, that benefit won't last much longer. Is it too much to hope that when she's 7, Lucy won't want to blow out the candle? Yes, it is. I guess we'll have to take turns (gasp!)

We are already getting practice with taking turns with our toy nativity set. It's the little people one and it is a favorite each year. We have all the pieces still but not all are seen here. I'm pretty sure I saw Mary and a wise man hanging out in Lucy's dress up purse. No jokes please. And I don't think there was a bus involved although I'm sure Mary would have appreciated one.

So that's how we do advent around here. Simple and a bit messy. But when your five year old prays thanking God for sending his Jesus to be a rescuer for the WHOLE world, you know its getting through somehow. And that's what what matters.

Head over to Like Mother Like Daughter to see how other families prepare for His arrival!

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