Christ in Christmas – Our Advent Calendar
This week we’re finishing off our Advent calendar. It will be the tool we use to help us sail through the potentially choppy waters of life in December AND it will help us keep our focus.
You see, we too are like Ann V’s family. We do not exchange gifts with one another. This is Jesus’ birthday and we plan our time around Him. The gifts we give are to those outside our immediate family. We take Scripture literally when it says, “What you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto Me.” So, we give Jesus’ birthday gifts to others. Both during Advent and again on Christmas morning. (another post)
Our calendar has numbers on each of the days of December, from the 1st through the 24th. We then made a list of people that we desire to bless with a gift, from the mail people (we have a lady most of the time, but sometimes we get our buddy Travis, too) to our most favored Fed Ex driver in the world, including our neighbors and those that the Lord has allowed to minister to in our lives. This year it worked out pretty close to even. We have 8 names less than we have days.
In a specially decorated jar, (which we will decorate during “organize week”) we will place slips of paper with the names of each of the people we desire to bless with a gift. Since, however, we have more days than names this year, we will also throw in 4 “Make a cup of Christmas cocoa” (a special event, indeed) slips AND we will put in 4 “Honor day” slips. Each day during Advent, we will draw either the name of someone we will bless with a gift or a cocoa slip or an honor slip. That will become the focus of our day.
If we draw a name, we will plan our day around praying for that person/family and delivering their gift to them. I think, this year, rather than “pre-wrapping” them, I will have the kids include wrapping the gift and preparing it for delivery, into our day. While this helps us keep others at the center of our thoughts, I do confess it also allows us to wallow selfishly in the sheer pleasure of blessing someone else. We LOVE giving gifts away.
The other slips – Christmas cocoa and honor slips – allow us to spend a bit of time just ministering to one another. If you draw the cocoa slip (and we do take turns drawing, by the way, which is why we had to have another baby – 7 days, 7 children drawing.) 😉 you are the one in charge of preparing the cocoa for the rest of the family. Drawing an honor slip means you have the privilege of choosing which 2 cookies we will be making that day – and they can’t be your own favorite cookie….hence the honor part. 🙂
Now, this of course, requires some time spent in preparing for all these events. Thus, the week from Sunday after Thanksgiving to Thursday the 30th, we will spend organizing. We will decorate our jar, cut up our slips, prepare the gifts we’re giving away (SIMPLE), make certain we have all the ingredients for each cookie/goodie on the list (remember, we already made the list of what ONE holiday treat we wanted this year, so that is where we will choose from) AND make certain we have enough scotch tape. That one catches us up EVERY year, it seems. In addition, we will decorate the house this week.
Please understand, for the most part, the “hard” decorations will be done. We will have already decorated the dining room for our Thanksgiving celebration. So, now we simply unpack the nativities that we use to decorate and place them around the house. There’s a little more to be done, but it’s mostly just a matter of stringing a few lights and we can do that room by room that week as well.
There we have it – December 1st on in, it’s smooth sailing. Nothing heavy on our schedule and no frantic last minute shopping trips. I LOVE IT. AND most of all, I love how it helps us all keep our eyes on others, all season long. What we have done for the least of these, we have done unto Him…may it be a sweet fragrance to Him. For He is worthy of all the glory and honor forever! AMEN
(Edit: Keep in mind, this is the PLAN. 😆 We’ve had the Lord put a fresh spin on it a time or two.)