Our Advent calendar helps us count days until Christmas. My grandparents created a beautiful Advent calendar out of wood. They cut out and painted 25 ornaments to be hung on the wooden tree, and one ornament is put up for each day. When my brother and I were little, we would get to pick odd or even numbers and put up ornaments on those corresponding days, and we have continued this same tradition in our family. As we got closer to December 25, the tree had more and more ornaments helping to build anticipation for Christmas. For some reason or another, my grandfather would always put the turtle on the top of the tree as a joke instead of the sweet angel that my grandmother most likely intended to go on top. Through the years, it has been fun to continue that tradition and make sure that the turtle keeps his place on top of the tree. Through the years, it's the little traditions like this that bring joy and help us remember and celebrate our family tree.
Our boy is turning 13 this month so we've been intentional about trying to create something that would fit his personality and that would speak to his heart to help mark this "crossing" year. We did a more elaborate version of this for his sister, Anna, but he made it very clear that he did not want the same kind of pageantry. As we thought about how to tweak some of our ideas that we'd put in place before, we still had some of the same goals that we'd had for Anna. The ultimate message that we wanted him to hear and remember was that he is loved. One small thing we did in preparation to drive this home was that we had him memorize Psalm 139 over a period of a few months as this passage is a beautiful reminder of God's love for us and His presence with us. We also wanted Taylor to know that as he turned from 12 to 13 into the realm of being a teenager that he was not doing this alone. We wanted him to know that he has a team of people