Sunday, November 29, 2015

Family Devos During Advent - The Wickersham Way

During the Advent season, Wickersham family devotionals look a little different. The focus of this special time is the celebration of the birth of the Son of Man in His first arrival, and the anticipation of the return of the King of Kings in His second arrival. Beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, we bust out a pewter wreath (we pretend it's an evergreen) and five candles (three purple, one red, and one white). This year our purple candles are super short so we substituted them with sweet pink ones. I suppose one can find purple taper candles on Taobao, but I'm going to say pink is close enough to purple for the rest of the year. Once we position the candles on the dining room table, the kiddos pass my quiz about the different Advent symbols before we begin reading Scripture:
  • The Advent wreath is a circular evergreen wreath and has four purple/red candles around it and a white one in the center. 
  • The circle of the wreath reminds us of the Eternal Father and His endless mercy. 
  • The green of the wreath points to the hope that we have in the Father, the hope of newness, renewal, and everlasting life.
  • The candles symbolize God's light coming into a dark world through the birth of His Son. 
  • The four outer candles represent the waiting period during the four Sundays of Advent symbolizing the four hundred years of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the First Noel.
Each Advent Sunday and Christmas Day we read two Old Testament passages (often from Isaiah) and two New Testament passages (mostly from the Gospels). The readings from the first Sunday focus on the hope the Father provides, the second Sunday focuses on His peace, the third Sunday on His joy (red candle), the last Sunday on His love, and on Christmas there is no specific theme, but everything points to the all-powerful Prince of Peace (white candle).

On each day of December until the 25th, Rose, Grace, or Josiah opens a window in an Advent calendar during or after dinnertime. Sometimes some arguing takes place concerning who will open the window, and I try to remember that I'm simply being given an opportunity to teach about the Son of Man. Unfortunately I do not always pass the test. Last year we started reading Ray Pritchard's Let's Go Straight to Bethlehem every evening, and we'll continue using this solid Advent devotional.

After I read the devotional, we might discuss it a little before Megan reminds us about what we can pray for. Rose starts off the prayers, and I am always the last to pray. We pray about what we learned during the devotional, we praise our Father for who He is and how He blesses us, we pray for others, and we confess our sins. Even Josiah takes part although sometimes he has trouble focusing. I cut him a bit of slack since he just turned four; however, I'll be expecting way more from him when he's the big five.

So there you have it - Wickersham family devotionals during the Advent season. What about music? We need to work on that, and I'll be giving it some serious thought in the next month. Below are some links that can help you worship our Wonderful Counselor during this Advent season. Merry Christmas from the Wickershams!

desiringGod Advent resources

The Gospel Coalition Why Celebrate Advent?

Reviewing Ray Pritchard's Let's Go Straight to Bethlehem

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6