Embracing Advent—Christmas Survival Guide for Adoptive and Foster Parents
Advent means arrival or coming. It’s a time to prepare for the coming of Christ—the birth
of Jesus. Each week leading up to Christmas I’ll release a new blog post to help steer
our hearts toward hope, faith, joy, and peace. This week, let’s get ready for the arrival of
our King with hope.
Every year I struggle to prepare my heart for Christmas because I’m so busy preparing
everything else. Maybe it’s because I have a large family—a husband, 8 kids, 2
daughters-in-love, a son-in-love, 2 significant others, and 5 grandchildren. My days are
full of homeschooling, directing JFO, and caring for my elderly dad.
When Thanksgiving rolls around and a slight panic sets in. December arrives and piles
planning, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and baking onto my already overflowing
plate. And like many of you, my kids with trauma and FASD struggle with what’s
supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
While I love Christmas and serving my family, the holiday hustle and bustle leaves little
room for that holly-jolly-peace-on-earth feeling. Yet I long to experience the hope of
Silent Night all season long. How do weary parents survive Christmas?
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
Like a sunrise ushering in a new day, Jesus has come into the world to usher hope for
Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
What are you hoping for this season?
for your kids to make it through the holidays with less meltdowns?
to actually enjoy Christmas Day?
to help your kids feel loved and secure when holidays hurt?
Or maybe like me, you desire Christmas without the chaos. Since Jesus is the reason
for the season, our days should be Christ-centered.
As I was praying about how to experience Christ this Christmas, I sensed the Lord
saying—Come away, my beloved, come away with me to the mountains. The words
reminded me of Song of Songs 8:14.
Come away, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains. Song of Songs 8:14
In Luke 9:28, the Transfiguration, Jesus takes Peter, John and James with him and they
went up onto a mountain to pray. Psalm 121:1-2 tells us, “I lift up my eyes to the
mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the
Maker of heaven and earth.”
These verses point us to where we find hope—intentional time with the Lord. Whether
five or fifteen minutes or an hour hiding in the bathtub or bedroom or car for some
solitude with the Savior—every minute is a gift of worship to Him. He is where our help
and hope come from.
Throughout December, each Advent blog post is a companion to my Orphans No More
podcast Advent series. Wrapped up in each post and episode are three gifts for you:
• An Advent Assignment
• A worship song
• A prayer for you
This week prioritize 5-15 minutes each day to focus on Jesus. One way you can do that
is by using a Christmas devotional or Bible Study. Over the years I’ve used the
• 25 Days of Thriving Through Christmas—an Advent Devotional for Adoptive & Foster
Parents by Kathleen Guire
• The Weary World Rejoices Bible Study for Women by Lifeway
This year I’m relishing Jennifer Elwood’s Counting Up to Christmas—24 Gifts From the
Gospel of Luke. Jen, an adoptive mom, was a recent guest on my podcast.
None of these studies are long or time consuming. They are designed for busy women
during December. They’re all available on Amazon and come in an e-book version so
you can start one right away.
You can also open up your Bible. The book of Luke just happens to have 24
chapters—one for each day leading up to Christmas. According to Jennifer Elwood, it
only takes two and a half hours to read the entire book of Luke. If you break it down to a
chapter each day that’s only six and a half minutes daily.
Listen to the old hymn Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus by Charles Wesley. Use your
music App to search for a version you like. Pour a cup of coffee or tea, sit back, listen,
and ponder the One who came to set the captives free—born a baby and a King.
Holy Lord, thank you for coming as a vulnerable baby born in a humble stable even
though you are King Eternal. Guide us through this holiday season. Help us experience
the quiet yet excited anticipation of your coming. Heal us and work through us so we
can share the gift of Christ with others. Open our hearts with renewed hope in Jesus.
Break through the darkness in our lives and let the light of your love flood in—into all our
broken places, in all our busyness and distractions. Help us to prepare a place in our
hearts and lives for you, Lord.
Help us to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. The
more we focus on you, Lord, the more your light will shine through our lives, our homes,
and our communities. We lift our eyes to the mountains—YOU are where our hope
comes from. May you be glorified throughout this holiday season and everyday as we
walk with you. Amen.