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The Christmas season is one that most people look forward to, but at the same time, we can feel some sense of dread. It’s all the to-dos and the gifts to buy and the gatherings to attend. It can become overwhelming, and we can easily lose sight of what Christmas is all about. That’s why our family commits to Advent activities and devotions each year.
Since we were introduced to Advent books and activities way back in 2009 (when our oldest kids were little), we have loved them. At that time, we didn’t know there was such a thing. However, they have helped change the way we look at Christmas and help us stay focused on the reason for the season.
One of our favorite sets is the series by Arnold Ytreeide. The four stories can be read in any order because each story is told from each character’s viewpoint as he or she sees what’s going on around him or her. While the product details state that it’s best for younger ages, even our older children enjoy these suspenseful stories about the coming of the Christ child year after year.
|Ytreeide Advent Stories, 4 Volumes
Tabitha’s Travels, Jotham’s Journey, Bartholomew’s Passage, and Ishtar’s Odyssey.
Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent
“Over and over Jotham screamed for his family, but there was no one to hear him. They had vanished. He was alone. Where had they gone? How long ago had they left? Through quick, stabbing sobs Jotham told himself, “I must look for my family, I must search until I find them.” And so his journey begins. In this widely popular, exciting story for the Advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem.”
Bartholomew’s Passage: A Family Story for Advent
“Bartholomew’s Passage is an engaging story that guides families through the Advent season. Young Bartholomew’s adventures start when Roman soldiers destroy his village and disperse his family, continue through his enslavement to a tyrannical master and his escape with his new friend Nathan, and end with a reunion with his family in Bethlehem. Along the way Bartholomew makes a new friend, a young boy named Jotham!”
“Tabitha and her family must travel to Bethlehem for the census. When her father is imprisoned by the Romans, she stays with Zechariah and Elizabeth, meets Jotham and Bartholomew, and helps prepare for Jesus’ birth.”
Ishtar’s Odyssey: A Storybook for Advent
“Ishtar’s Odyssey follows the ten-year-old son of a Persian wise man as their caravan follows a star across the desert. Ishtar would just as soon stay in the comfort of the palace, but slowly he learns that there’s much to see, do, and learn in this world that can’t be experienced in school. He eventually meets Jotham, Bartholomew, and Tabitha as he follows his father and uncles in their search for a newborn king.”
Another Advent book that we have thoroughly enjoyed is Countdown to Christmas: Unwrap the Christmas Story with your Family in 15 Days. This is one that we did instead of the Jesse Tree activities because we had just had a baby, and life was crazy. We loved this advent devotional because it was only 15 days. It helped us feel less rushed to get it all done. If you are in a season of busy, this is the Advent devotion for you!
Last year, we came upon this book, Unwrapping the Names of Jesus. We loved this advent devotional! It was interactive and very thought-provoking as we looked forward to the birth of our Savior.
|Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional
Treat your family to the ultimate gift this Christmas as you “unwrap” the meaning-filled name of Jesus, week by week!
Advent Activities with Devotions
This Jesse Tree Advent book, The Advent Jesse Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults, is a wonderful guide through the story of Christ and what led to his birth on Christmas day. You can purchase the book and create your own ornaments like we did, or you can buy the ornament kit.
|The Advent Jesse Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults
25 devotions each for children and adults for every day from the first day of December through Christmas Day.
I’ll admit, this devotion and the ornament making was quite involved at times, so if you are looking for a simpler Jesse Tree activity, try this one. It’s very similar to the one we were first introduced to all those years ago. I can’t find that particular one anymore, but this is pretty close.
|Jesse Tree Advent Activity Kit
The Jesse Tree is wonderful way to teach kid’s the true meaning of the holidays!
There are so many options out there, and we have barely scratched the surface, I’m sure, but we love these so much that we return to them year after year. If you are looking for advent activities and devotions, these are a great place to start! But don’t wait, Advent starts soon!