In addition to our traditional Advent celebration, I have tried for the past several years to make some sort of fun 'count-down' to Christmas for our kids. This year went like this . . .
I went to Michaels and picked up some small paper sacks (they have several sizes - make sure to get ones that will hold enough treats for your kiddos), sheets of number stickers (you'll need enough numbers to go from 1 to 25), wooden clothes pins (the kind with the metal spring) and ribbon (you can pick from hundreds of designs and widths).
Once you're back home with your goodies, lay out 25 sacks and start numbering . . . 1 all the way through 25 . . .
Next, fill the bags with all sorts of little treats - one for each of your children. I usually buy several kinds of fun Christmas candy (Home Goods surprisingly sells some really fun and different candy). In the past I've also used little toys (cheap ones!) and even coins. The key is to go on the cheap. This should be just a little fun moment in the day and definitely shouldn't get out of hand on the expense end! I always try to find gold wrapped chocolate coins for Chrismas morning.
Once the bags are all filled, find a good place to hang the ribbon. For us, it has to be a fairly long span because the bag size has to be a little bigger to accomodate seven pieces. This year, I hung it across the center rail of a picture window.
Bright and fun and almost the first thing the kids see when they come down the stairs. This window is in the eating area of our kitchen. We start at #25 and count backwards to #1. That helps the littles know how many days are left until Christmas. I try to save the really good treats for the days just leading up to Christmas. :-) Can't wait to share this tradition with the new kids!
Advent Reading - Day 8 (Second Sunday of Advent)
Today, we light the first candle - the Prophecy candle - and also begin lighting the Bethlehem (purple) candle. The Bethlehem candle represents the preparations made for the coming Christ child. It can also be called the "Preparation" candle.
"Bethlehem is an appropriate place to signify preparation because, even though no room was available for Mary and Joseph when they came, God had orchestrated events so that Caesar Augustus called for a census to be taken. Joseph and Mary had to leave Nazareth so that they could register in Bethlehem and the Scriptures below were fulfilled.
"One of the key characters associated with this week in Advent is John the Baptist because he prepares the way for Jesus. He takes us from the prophecies of old and into the time of Jesus. this week, we are one step closer, as God's hand moves in history to bring His Son to us . . . and us to Him." - TeachingMom.com
Keep in mind that this prophecy was given 700 years before the birth of Christ!
"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity."
Therefore He will give them up until the time
When she who is in labor has borne a child.
Then the remainder of His brethren
Will return to the sons of Israel.
And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the LORD,
In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God.
And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.
This One will be our peace. (NASB)