Advent: Longing for a Savior
The Season of Advent is something near and dear to me. When I was a little girl, my parents created the sweetest family traditions focused around the celebration of our coming Savior. Being one of eight kids, you can imagine that Christmastime was a glorious and loud event -- but so special. So much of what I love about Christmas stems from the seeds they planted in my young heart. Now as mom and a wife, I desire to put that same focus and magic into Ellie's sweet youth. This December, we are honored to share four guest posts surrounding the Season of Advent -- all from those we love that have created memories and traditions that we believe will uplift and encourage your heart, as you and your family also prepare for the celebration of Christmas. Today, my beautiful Mom, Susie, kicks off our series with her thoughts on Advent, some traditions that are perfect for families, and thoughts that will draw you closer to the love of our Savior (and may cause you to wipe a few tears as I did).
Advent: Longing for a Savior
Sing Along with Mitch Miller and Andy Williams' Christmas albums (Wow, that dates me!)
our little ones bursting on queue into dance from hidden places following the crescendo of Amy Grant's Emmanuel
The arrival of the Christmas season for me always brings with it a flood of memories...both recent and distant, mostly joyful, but especially it creates in me a sense of longing and belonging.
A longing to feel Christmas like a child
To have another one with my dad
Scattered family gathered once again
Glimpsing the joyful anticipation on our young children's faces now grown
The belonging of family
The security of their love
My need for them and their want of relationship with me.
As a mom, preparing my children for Advent prepares my heart as well. Having children often does that--- requires a prioritizing that thankfully has ripple affects on my own life.
These Christmas memories and traditions we've created and shared have purpose! They provide family cohesiveness and that sense of belonging. They tell a personal, generational story of us. And most importantly, they provide the very platform in all of the busyness for a fresh encounter with Jesus and opportunities to glorify Him.
In a world where our attention is jerked around by media, it's crucial for me to be intentional about knowing Jesus and making Him known both in my home and to the world. I want my children, and my grandchildren, to understand that we--all people--are the reason He came. The reason He's here and coming again. Advent.
Each Christmas, our family uses an advent calendar to journey once again to the manger. We've used several different calendars in the past, but currently use Kurt Adler's magnetic nativity that I happened to get as an Amazon lightning deal a few years ago. It hangs on our kitchen wall where the children take turns opening the doors each day to recreate the nativity. We read scripture and a short chapter from one of Arnold Ytreeide's exciting read-aloud devotional storybooks every night. Each of his four Advent books follows the main character's dangerous yet triumphant journey in search of the newborn King. Interestingly, all of the four main characters cross paths in each book. Each cliffhanging chapter also provides an essential lesson in living a life that pleases God and connects the entrance of Christ into our hearts as well as the world. Our children beg to continue reading! This year we are reading his newest one, Ishtar's Odyssey. In about fifteen minutes each night before bed, we refocus our hearts with this routine and finish with a prayer using Intentional Prayer's Behold cards and light the designated candles on an Advent wreath.
"What is an orphanage?" our youngest daughter asked catching me a bit off-guard. With carefully chosen words, I began to tell our precious girl the limited details we knew of her obscure past and our journey to bring her into our family. And in that moment with tears streaming down my face, the weight of God's great redeeming love overwhelmed me. God comes to us. He crosses a great divide to reach us. A costly endeavor. The costliest. Chosen and placed as children. Blessed abundantly.
Life giving life.
From Heaven to the manger to the cross.
Life receiving life.
Redeemed and transformed by His Spirit and His Word!
This is Christmas to me.
Longing for a Savior.
Belonging to Him.
Galatians 4:4-6 " But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
About the Author: Susie Walrond is a beautiful mom to eight children, military spouse of more than 30 years, and all around spiritual warrior and world-changer. Susie has been growing the hearts of her children through her teaching and leadership as a homeschooler for 30+ years (as her daughter, I'd like to point out that none of us wear denim culottes, and a few of us even have social skills lol -- so she did an amazing job!). Susie and her husband, Tom (my awesome Dad!), are also wonderful adoption advocates and parents, and are now Grandparents to three sweet (and wild) girls. (Ellie is the wild in that mix...). We love you!
**Photos by Emily O'Halloran**