Isaiah 7:14 – But the Lord will still give you proof. A virgin is pregnant; she will have a son and will name him Immanuel.
Gratitude Day 793
It was an Advent tradition that I remember vividly: the Advent Calendar!
Growing up, my Mom made sure that my sisters and I had an Advent Calendar each year. Most years, each of us girls received our own Advent Calendar. It was made of some type of cardboard and had a pretty nativity or otherwise Christmas picture on the front. Then, there were little “windows” with a number on them. Beginning on December 1, we got to open one window a day and see what was behind the window. On Christmas Eve, the picture was always of a baby Jesus in the manger.
It was a wonderful Christmas tradition that feels quite old-fashioned these days. Knowing that my Mom probably scrapped together a few dollars to get these Advent Calendars makes them even more special today.
The past few years, Advent Calendars have resurged in popularity. But these are of a different flavor. They aren’t a cheapo from the local dollar store but fancy and possibly even elegant displays for the first 24 days of December. You can have a different piece of candy each day. A different flavor of tea. Or beauty products. You can even get an Advent Calendar for your dog, filled with 24 special doggie treats.
Yes, there are lots of DIY options out there as well if you want to scour Pinterest or Google or another place. Yes, they are beautiful and pretty and creative and fun, which is part of the reason for having an Advent Calendar. Yet, somehow, I hope and pray that we remember the reason for the season is not to spend hours upon hours filling our lives with things that may not have much connection to the birth of the Savior of the world.
I get it. This is a time of the year that many businesses depend upon. Yet, somehow, these pretty looking Advent Calendars seem quite different than those stiff cardboard nativity scenes my Mom dug out coins to purchase for my sisters and me.
If you have purchased or have your heart set on a beautiful Advent Calendar of this nature, you do you and go for it! Enjoy it and make it fun! If you are looking for something that is less about accumulating and more about giving back in light of the greatest gift we have ever received, then I am here for you.
Here is an Advent Devotion 2022 that encourages us to reflect upon ways that we can give ourselves and others meaningful moments of time, reflection and some thoughtful and meaningful ways to draw close to those who mean so much to us this season. There are even a few opportunities to bless others during the four weeks leading up to Christmas.
The Advent Devotion includes two options:
- A suggestion of something that you can do each day to remember the gift of Jesus by giving to someone else or yourself. These are little ways to bless another person or give yourself the blessing of a few quiet moments for yourself. If the actual suggestion does not work on the day it is listed, choose a different one. Cross of the days as you do them and challenge yourself to cross each idea off. There are a few days where you might need to pick something up but I encourage you to be creative. Use what you have. Keep it simple. Be resourceful. Most importantly, please do not see this list as another list of things you “must, should or have” to do this Advent. See these little suggestions as an opportunity to bring a bit of joy into your life this Advent.
- Put together a Reverse Advent Calendar box of food. Grab yourself a box by the beginning of Advent, Nov. 27. Each day, an item of food is listed. Put each item into your box, every day of Advent. Then, on or around Christmas Eve, you can either donate the box of food to a family that could use the items or to your local food pantry. Some of these things you might have in your pantry. Some, you may need to pick up the next time you go grocery shopping. This food box is a way to remember and support those who are struggling this Advent and allow them an opportunity to be blessed.
Can you make both options? Why, of course you can! There really are no rules to this. I just want to encourage you and myself to not get so caught up in what we think must be done for Christmas so that we lose the simplicity of how a babe born in a stable changed the world. How a virgin accepted a ridiculously difficult call to give birth to a baby out of wedlock and raise the Savior of the world. That a man agreed to be the father of a baby that was not his and accepted this role with little reservations.
This is why we have Christmas. Advent is a four-week preparation period for us to remember all the prophecies that a Savior would be born. To prepare our hearts to hear the same Good News of great joy that those shepherds heard out in the fields while simply watching over their sheep at night.
This is the joy of Christmas and what we prepare for in Advent.
Be creative with this Advent Devotion. Do these things together as a family. If possible, share your thoughts and reflections with another person. Encourage people you love to hang a copy of this Advent Devotion on their refrigerator as well and go through each day giving a gift that will also help them be mindful of the most wonderful gift that has already been given us.
We often think of the time going up to Christmas as one of the busiest times of the year. And it often is. Because we fill our calendars and minutes with too much, may we etch in places and opportunities to reflect upon the real reason of the season. Can these Advent Devotions add to the busyness of Christmas? Yes, but only if we fail to reflect and remember how these little things can draw us back to the gift of Jesus.
You see, I put this Advent Devotion together so I will remember these things. I invite you to share this journey with me and together, let’s go into Advent and Christmas ready to celebrate the gifts of the season.
For the opportunity to truly reflect upon the gifts of the Christmas season, I am grateful.
O Holy One – Soon, we will be turning our attention to Christmas and the various things that are part of the season. Maybe we already have. Place it upon my heart some peace in that this Advent season is not just about “doing” but also about “being” with You. Allow this Advent Devotion to be an opportunity for me to reflect, share and celebrate the gift of Jesus by giving to others. Challenge me to not run through the Advent Season but saunter through the days, remember what we are preparing for.
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