A Simple & Free Family Advent Wreath Devotional

The first time I ever saw an Advent wreath was at my Aunt Pat's house. We didn't light Advent candles in the church I grew up in, so she was the one who first taught me about the meaning behind the wreath. She explained that there was one candle for each of the four Sundays before Christmas, and each week, you light one candle. The closer you get to Christmas day, to Jesus, the brighter the light shines. 

I loved it. As a child, I was smitten with the idea of a visible countdown to Christmas. But as an adult, the Advent wreath helps me prepare my heart for the coming of Christ. It's a visual reminder that there is light and hope in the darkness. That Christ has come. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Put simply, Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. It officially begins four Sundays before Christmas. Sometimes, like this year, the first Sunday of Advent is in November. Other times, it's in December. If you want to figure out when Advent starts, pull out your calendar and count backward four Sundays from Christmas. This year it's November 29. That's less than a week away, y'all.

At its heart, Advent is a season of preparation and anticipation. It's a time of holy expectation. We prepare our hearts for the wonder of the Word that became flesh, and we get  ready to greet him with gladness.

It's easy to let the busy-ness of the Christmas season distract us from what really matters, but I've found that being intentional about practicing Advent helps tune our hearts to sing the wonders of God's grace—grace that was revealed to us most fully in the coming of Jesus Christ.

One way we do this is by lighting an Advent wreath throughout the season. There are lots of different ways to make an Advent wreath, but my favorite is the simplest. I put five candles (the fifth candle is for Christmas day) and some greenery on a cake plate and place it in the center of the table. That's it. It's a little unconventional, but it works for us. Click here for more information on traditional Advent wreaths.

In years past, we've talked a little bit about the Christmas story with our kids before we light the candles, but I've always thought it would be nice to have a little devotion to read through with the family. So this year, I sat down and created one.

This free Advent devotional guide is super simple for you to use with your family. There are five cards in the printable: one for each Sunday of Advent and another for Christmas day. All you have to do is print the cards, cut them out on the dotted lines, and read the week's card aloud as you light the candles.

Each week's card explains the symbolism of the candle for that week and provides an appropriate Scripture passage and short prayer to read aloud. There's also a handful of questions you can discuss with your children while you're eating.

And that's it. Nothing crazy. Nothing over the top. Just a simple little guide to help your family focus on the things that matter most during one of the busiest seasons of the year.

I hope you enjoy this printable, and I pray that it helps you anticipate the coming of the Light of the WorldMay the wonder of Christmas abide in your hearts this season. 

Until next time, grace and peace.

Free Printable Give Thanks Banner + Shop Updates

Hello friends! I'm happy to announce that fall has finally arrived in the South. I mean, sure, it may still get up to 80 degrees before the day is over, but we're at a nice, crisp 50-something degrees when the days start.

OK, OK, so that was just a couple of days. But still. One can hope.

I've got a fun little freebie for you today: a give thanks printable banner. If you're anything like me, you could use a reminder to pause and practice gratitude throughout your day. I made this banner to hang on our own mantle, and then I thought that I should share the love (and thankfulness) with you as well. Click here to download your free Thanksgiving banner. I hope it inspires an attitude of gratitude in your household :)

I also wanted to give you a tiny little shop update. As of this very moment, I have Dwell mugs in stock, as well as two different sets of verse cards. I'm still waiting on the Dwell Journals. I got word from the printer that my final round of test journals will be ready at the beginning of next week. Once I get those in my hands, I'll be able to get some photos taken and get the shop open by the middle of the month. At least, that's what I'm hoping and praying will happen. 

This whole process has been a bit more of an ordeal than I imagined it would be, but now that the launch is (nearly) in sight, I'm finally exhaling a little bit. I'm thankful (see what I did there?) that all the waiting is finally drawing to a close. It's been a mad push to get all the products ready this fall, and I simply can't wait to share them with you. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be revealing more details about the individual products and I'll also be posting exclusive deals (and maybe even a giveaway or two) for the shop launch. Stay tuned for updates!

Until next time, grace and peace. 

FREE Verse Card + New Collection Updates

Hello friend! How are you?? We're busy, busy, busy, but that's just the way of things when you've got a couple of little ones who are always on the move. Those two little ones are the reason it's been so long since you heard from me. I spent the summer chasing them all over the South (literally) and squeezing in some design time in the cracks and crevices that were left over.

Because life is so busy, sometimes it's hard to push the pause button and focus for just a few minutes on what God has to say. And yet, spending time in His presence is absolutely crucial to my well-being. It's not something I can afford to neglect. That's why I created the Dwell Collection. Each product has been specifically designed to help us draw near to the heart of God. There are journals and verse cards, and, God willing, there will also a handful of fun items like jewelry and mugs.

I'm so excited to share the results with you! If you follow me on Instagram (which, if you don't, you should), you've gotten a few peeks of the Dwell Journal, which is the heart and soul of the new line. At this point, I'm deep in the process of having the new collection produced, and I have my fingers crossed for a launch sometime in October. I'll keep you updated on the progress. 

In the meantime, I want to share a little freebie with you, my faithful readers. This print is actually one of the verse cards in the new collection. You can print it out on cardstock and frame it (as I did above), or write a message on the back and send it as a postcard. Print several and give them to friends, or tack one to your bulletin board as a reminder to praise the Lord. I pray that as you see the verse day in and day out, it will seep into your heart and mind, and before you know it, you'll have it memorized. Click here to download your free Psalm 150:6 art print.

I'll be in touch soon with more updates! Until then, grace and peace.