3. Try a New Tree
Put off putting up your Christmas tree, and set up a "Jesse" tree in the meantime. Derived from a prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 11:1, the tree is traditionally a bare branch or houseplant decorated with ornaments representing Old Testament stories. Use apples for Adam and Eve, a harp for King David, or make your own ornaments, such as a big fish for Jonah or a coat of many colors for Joseph.
4. Present Different Presents
In lieu of baking and delivering Christmas cookies, give away candles accompanied by notes printed with the texts of Isaiah 9:2 and John 1:9. If friends are curious about your unique gift, tell them about the light Jesus brings into your life.
5. Keep Quiet
Ponder the story of the priest Zechariah (Luke 1:5-79). How did he feel waiting in silence while contemplating the amazing news of the Messiah's coming? Take a vow of silence for a few hours one morning. Focus on God's presence and communicate with him through quiet prayers and a listening heart.
6. Hum a New Tune
Although you might normally play "Away in a Manger" as your soundtrack throughout December, hold off on Christmas music until the 25th. Instead, make a CD or playlist of songs appropriate for Advent. Don't know any? Search online at www.cyberhymnal.org and click Topics, then Advent.
7. Rise and Knead
Get up early one morning to make yeast bread. As you wait for the dough to rise, think of how those waiting for the Messiah to be born must have felt. Consider how you can prepare and watch for Christ's Second Coming.