Our family’s Advent celebrations began when our oldest son was 2 years old. We weren’t doing regular family devotions at that time, but we wanted to incorporate a few things into the season to help our young son learn what Christmas was all about. We taught him some Christmas hymns that year, and listened to a recorded drama of the Christmas story several times. He loved to act it out with a plastic nativity set, having memorized many verses from the Luke account thanks to the cassette tape. Little did we know how the Lord would use that simple beginning to impact the course of our lives.
The next Christmas season we were more intentional, setting aside time to read the Bible and sing every Sunday evening during the weeks leading up to Christmas. We saw so much fruit from this simple practice that the following year we had family devotions every evening during the month of December.
And then one year, it happened. As we sang the last Christmas carol and read the last seasonal devotion, we all felt a sense of sadness. We didn’t want to stop meeting together to sing and read the Bible! Our worship times together had become too precious to set aside with the Christmas decorations. The Lord had gently led us from a meaningful Christmas tradition into what has now become a daily part of our lives.
The songs we sing and the Scriptures we read change throughout the year, but the overall structure is the same for us every day. We sing a song, read some scripture, talk about it, and close in prayer. Some days, as time permits, we linger over the passage. Other days, our devotions don’t last more than 10 minutes. We have seen great fruit from even a little bit, done consistently. Our desire to spend time in the Word with our children has continued to grow, along with their ability to sit longer, their spiritual hunger, and the depth of their questions and insights about what we are reading.
The Christmas season has the potential to be a spiritually rich time for our families as we marvel together at the Gospel of grace. Our worship should build toward the celebration of Christ’s birth as we focus on WHY we needed a Savior in the first place. Our hearts cry out at Christmas for something more than the materialism that the world offers, making this season the perfect time to start family devotions if you aren’t having them already.
This article is excerpted from Molly’s audio podcast Preparing Hearts for Christmas. You can listen to the full audio right here, or on our podcast audio page. Visit her blog at CounterCultural Mom.com to read practical articles about implementing family devotions during the Christmas season.