chex mix and Jesus :: making christmas count

The hubby and I just had a loooooong drive home from Thanksgiving with the kiddos, which can either mean we are all pulling our hair out after 7+ hours together in the car with cranky kids or many hours of getting some quality time together while the kids watch some movies (I take no shame in my kids watching hours of movies in the car!). Thankfully, it was the latter for today. Part of the quality time for this trip included Christmas planning. It is such a busy season and with parties and festivities, it is so easy to get consumed in the madness and not enjoy the real reason for Christmas. So we made lots of notes on how we are going to Make Christmas Count this year! And I can’t wait to share them all with you over the month of December. But for now, I want to tell you all about my hubby’s brain child in the car…

You see Advent Calendars and activities floating around the Pinterest world all the time. And I wanted to do something for all 25 Days with the kids but didn’t know what and wasn’t finding much inspiration online. Ben got me this cute Advent Calendar last year that I knew I wanted to use somehow.

So as we brainstormed in the car, one thought that came to our minds was using the calendar to focus on teaching the kids all of the amazing prophesies and descriptions of the coming Messiah (because Jesus being born was the beginning of them coming true!). All of these descriptions are kind of like the ingredients to what God was making. And just like your favorite recipe, some of the ingredients by themselves taste great and some are not so good (like I don’t think I will down some garlic powder on its own for fun!). In the same way, some of the things the Old Testament says about Jesus are hard to hear and some are great. We want to teach the kids that not only was Christmas in God’s plan all along, but it meant Jesus was going to experience both good and bad. But the final product is oh so sweet! So here is how we have combined baking a favorite snack with teaching this truth to our kids…

We found a recipe for ChexMix (one of the family favorites) that can be broken down into 25 ingredients and steps. At the same time, we picked 25 Old Testament verses that describe one of the characteristics of what the coming Messiah would be or experience. Then we made 25 cards that have one ingredient or step on one side and one verse on the other. Ok, you caught me. I haven’t made them all yet. But I will make a few tonight and then the rest this week! Here is the first one…

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I just found a picture online and glued it to my card. My kids can’t read yet, so this would be even easier with kids who can because then you can just write the ingredients! The card is only 2″x2″.

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As you can see, it’s not Martha Steward crafting here!

I’m so excited about sharing this with my family. The plan is that we will look at the cards together each night and actually open up the Bible and read it. And we will collect the ingredients so we can put them all together on December 24 to make the snack.

But before we start all of this, we will say something like this to the kiddos…”There are lots of verses in the Bible that tell us Jesus is coming. This is important this time of year because it’s when Jesus was born and everything that was said about Him came true. Now the verses we read each night are like an ingredient to a recipe. Once we put them all together, we get to eat some yummy food! In the same way, once we put all of the verses together, we get to see who Jesus is! So the night before Christmas we will have all of our ingredients to make a special snack that we will enjoy on Christmas day. On that same day, we will also enjoy Jesus’ birthday and celebrate how all of the verses we read told us that He was coming!”

The age of the kids will greatly determine how detailed to get with this explanation. I am fully expecting my 3 year old to not get much at all except that she will be delighted to pull the card out of the calendar each night. But I’m praying this is just the beginning of planting this greater story in the heart of my 5 year old! And we are also praying that on the day we read about the virgin birth, my son doesn’t ask what a virgin is. I’m definitely not ready to go there yet!! But please know that this will probably not look like some super spiritual moment every night…it rarely is around here. They will probably interrupt the story many times with completely random questions that have nothing to do with Jesus. But that’s ok!

So for our family, this is Making Christmas Count!

If you want to join in this in some way or another, here is a link to all of the 25 ingredients/steps and 25 verses (CLICK HERE). And remember, some are bitter and some are sweet. We have added an explanation to help connect the verse with describing Christ because I know that not all of us have pastors for husbands:) And between you and me…the hubby had to explain some of these to me too! But God is truly amazing in how he shared about Jesus over and over in the Old Testament and I want my kids to know that His plan started in the very beginning.

I would love to hear how you are using your Advent Calendars this year too!