Andrea O Smith
God Met Me During Advent
Many of us are looking forward to this season of joy and giving. We love to drive around looking at the twinkling Christmas lights, having our noses run while drinking hot cocoa, eating candy canes and overall marveling at the magic of the season. This year has looked a little different at our house. We do all the regular Christmas activities. We decorate our tree, our porch, and the interior of the house. We get family photos and send Christmas cards (maybe a little later than usual). However, this year, we have been focusing much more on the real reason for these festivities and it has made a huge difference!
The art teacher at our children's homeschool co-op made advent ornaments that go along with the Jesus Storybook Bible. Each day corresponds with a story beginning at Creation, but each section ends with a peek to the coming Savior. The kids first check their Mickey Stocking for the day's announcement, then they go open their advent calendar that is filled with FunkoPop figures from The Office. We then sit down with Thinking Putty as they listen to the Bible story for the day and finish by reciting Luke 2:11 before they dig into their daily ice cream flavor from Mooville (a local creamery). Yes, they get a new flavor for 25 days in a row! We are also using the Bible Gateway app at dinner to read aloud one chapter of Luke each day while we eat.
It has really added a new level of excitement, anticipation and focus to the days leading up to Christmas! They all look forward to the stories that foreshadow the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ! The other day after we were finished, they continued to talk to each other about Jesus and ask each other questions about the Bible. I soaked in the beauty of these relationships building over putty and ice cream. They were enjoying the company of their siblings and not one mention of toys they wanted or shopping. There was no talk of Santa. It made me so joyful to see them living as they were designed; in awe of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They were making tiny creations while they were visiting. My heart was melty.
It dawned on me that despite the commercialism our culture has infused into this season, God must look down on us with gladness. He has to be pleased to see generosity being spread and celebrated. He loves when we take care of those in need. He delights when we are in awe and wonder. He gave the greatest gift of all! He gave His son to this weary world. He gave hope that is infallible. God gave such a loving gift that it could never be equally reciprocated. Our kids can't give us the same level of gift that we can give them, but we are happy with any amount of thought put into it. I think the same goes for God. He wants us to come to Him and give us our joyful sounds through singing or playing instruments. He wants us to lay our burdens down and let Him love us. He wants us to have a relationship with Him where we read our Bible and pray to keep those lines of communication open.
As adults, sometimes the "magic" of the season can wear off when you're the one trying to keep all of the activities organized, gifts purchased, and food prepared. May I just challenge you to view those things like the putty my kids play with. It's something you're busy with, but it isn't the reason you're doing it. We've all heard the saying, "Jesus is the reason for the Season." He is!!! Isn't that amazing?! Remember that extra stuff is just that...stuff. It is a cultural burden, but you don't have to carry it. If it is too much, sit down with your family and have a conversation about how you all could work to make this a season of Peace instead of chaos. That would better reflect the whole reason for the season, don't you think? The Prince of Peace came to Earth! Find a way to let your heart be saturated with Peace as we look forward to the upcoming celebration.
Luke 2:11 "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."