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.)

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Comments
17 Responses to “Christ in Christmas – Our Advent Calendar”
  1. whimsy says:

    Have you always done this? If not, was it hard to make the switch?
    DH and I have discussed the fact that we have let the real meaning of Christmas get lost in a sea of presents.
    All suggestions appreciated!

  2. javadawn says:

    whimsy, I just typed out an answer to your question – it was longer than the blog. 😆 I will blog more on it later, so you can get a better idea of exactly how we do this and how we made the transition. It really wasn’t hard at all!

    The kids LOVE the idea of having birthdays being special….so it only seemed right that Jesus’ birthday should be HIS special day too.

    AND my kiddos LOVE giving gifts. They will plot and plan and completely delight in it, so it’s just made it all the more fun for us. I wasn’t kidding when I said we selfishly wallow in the sheer pleasure of giving gifts. We really do.

  3. winkies6 says:

    Awesome idea! I can’t wait to hear more 🙂

  4. OOOOHHHH, I can’t wait to read the post about how you made the transition. Isn’t it wonderful and amazing how diverse and creative our God is? How His plan for how He would have one family honor Him looks totally different from another? It gives me goosebumps. :o)

  5. Dawn – This is so beautiful. I’m working this year on being “ready” by the first of December also. It won’t happen (not this year anyway) and I won’t spend all season beating myself up about that (as per my usual) but I will be so far ahead of where I usually am:) Using the advent calendar to bless others is a fabulous idea. I would love to do something like that this year. Actually I’ve gathered so many wonderful ideas from you and Ann and others that I now have to spend some serious time cutting all these big chucks into bite size pieces – something mommies are good at, at least:) But which to chew now and which to preserve for later? How I long for some focused alone time with my Father to talk all this over – and with my dh!

  6. Ann V. says:

    Dawn? I think we are long lost twins ~warmsmile~ We are living the same Advent/Christmas! But we do popcorn instead of the cookies… so I think I will try out your cookie idea… keep posting, Dawn! You bless me!

  7. JavaDad says:

    Ann, We have a new idea for our Christmas cocoa, if you want to use it too. 🙂 We’re making up the whipping cream blops that go on the top and we’re freezing them ahead of time. AND we’re making some specialty types, too. We’ll add mint essential oil for mint hot chocolate and for Mexican hot chocolate, we’re putting a tiny, tiny bit of cayenne and some cinnamon in. (Um, since this was an idea off the top of me wee head, you might want to wait until AFTER we’ve tried it to know if it’ll work. 😆 Otherwise you could ruin perfectly good cocoa. SHAMEFUL!)

  8. JavaDad says:

    PS We used to do popcorn too – until the year we drew “Make popcorn” 4 days in a row. I was ready for a new idea the next year. 😀

  9. winkies6 says:

    Hey JavaDad… What if you did homemade marshmallows with your flavorings in them? They are almost always softer in texture. 🙂

  10. Dawn C says:

    🙂 ACTUALLY, it was me that said that – only Jeff had been the last one signed in. 🙂

    KAREN! It’s ME you’re talking to – I don’t MAKE marshmallows. What are you thinking????? 😉

  11. winkies6 says:

    WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME??? LOL You could SOO totally make marshmallows! I know you can……

  12. Javadawn says:

    OK…*heavy sigh*…give me the recipe. If I end up covered with marshmallow goo looking like a Looney Tunes character, YOU have to come clean my kitchen AND make me something deliciously chocolate for my pain and suffering!! Deal or no deal?

  13. winkies6 says:

    I’m up to the challenge…. But do you have a Stand Mixer? You might have to come over to make marshmallows…….

  14. winkies6 says:

    http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe.php?id=106&title=Marshmallows I found this site for you. In case you had any questions, it’s all there..Blogged out.

  15. javadawn says:

    I HAVE TO BE A COOKING ENGINEER TO MAKE MARSHMALLOWS?!!@!^%^$ WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME????? 😉

  16. winkies6 says:

    I am CERTAIN that your javabaker will have no trouble at all making these. 😉 I ONLY sent you to that site because they totally hashed out all the questions. *grin*

  17. Patricia says:

    I some how missed this post when you did it, but I’m so glad I looked back. What a perfectly awesome idea. Mind if we copy? Only, there is no way I can have 6 more children by Friday – so Emily will have the honor or drawing all the names! =) Every year we have baked and delivered bread to our neighbors, widows and older couples we know, so it was easy to come up with enough names to have 25. Since Thursdays are the days we go into the city, the timing is perfect for us to purchase what we will need to bake bread and make cards and/or gifts for the names we draw beginning this Friday. Our biggest challenge to following through with this will come if Gavin (who is due Christmas Day) arrives early. We may have to add the hospital staff to our list of those we gift and double up on other days to catch up with any we missed with our “birthing” distractions. =) Dawn, you are such a blessing. I wish you were closer and we could include you and your family in our list of names we want to bless.

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