Our children are fascinated by beginnings. They want to know how things are made, how their parents met, and where they come from. A wonderful family exercise on a rainy day is to bring out the family albums and go through them with your children or grandchildren. They will discover faces like their own in these pictures of the past. They will be able to discover connecting links and a firm sense of identity.
Advent is the season in which we celebrate new beginnings. It is the season in which we begin the liturgical year and prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior. We all know how easy it is to be distracted by the lights and decorations of businesses selling their goods. It’s easy to get caught up in this noise, identifying the season with the momentary pleasure a gift supplies. But when the next year comes, the gift is forgotten as the new season presents new possibilities. How do we give our children memories that stay with them for years to come?
As we see in Advent activities such as the Jesse Tree, we find the beginnings of the Christmas story in the Old Testament. These are the stories of the faithful people who are the ancestors of Jesus. Using an age-appropriate Bible with our children, we can create firm memories by reading to them the classic stories of our spiritual ancestors. There we find the story of Adam and Eve, of Noah and the ark, and of the call of Abraham and Moses. We see Moses leading the Israelites from Egypt to the Holy Land. We read of David’s kingdom and the message of the prophets. Hearing these stories in a loving environment will create for our children loving memories that will be a permanent blessing from year to year.