Bubby Loves Advent...and Chocolate
The season of Advent is not one that is normally noticed much in typical protestant churches. A couple of years ago, our church decided to start participating in this 4-week celebration which joyfully anticipates the arrival of God as a man, the eternal putting on flesh, and becoming the sacrifice for us.
And so we have informally joined in, taking the time to daily look forward to this important spiritual anniversary. I say informal, because more orthodox keepings of Advent include fasting and times of preparation similar to Lent. For us, participation has included times of special times prayer and reading related to the promises of God to redeem His people, and the specific prophecies that pointed to Jesus' coming; also, special sermons from Jamie at Christ Fellowship. It has been a good and meaningful exercise for us these last two years, and further enhances the Christmas season, helping to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas.
Involving the Bubby on a level he could understand and would enjoy was definitely a priority for us, and this is kind of the first Christmas that he is old enough for something like this. Definitely a 'commercial' part of the season, yet also one of the best at promoting the Christmas season, Starbucks has Advent Christmas tree decorations for purchase which make it easy and exciting to have a daily conversation with Noah about the upcoming special day. The 18-inch tall tree has little compartments for 24 small, numbered boxes. Each box contains a small treat (some kind of chocolate wrapped in gold foil), and on the reverse side of each box is 1/24th of a picture of a wintery, holiday scene. For each day of Advent, you pull out one box, counting down the days to Christ's birth, and after pulling out the special treat, you put it back into the compartment, with the 'new' side of the box facing forward. Each day brings us closer to the special arrival, and also further reveals the new, happy picture.
This has been a wonderful tool and a fun, child-friendly helper for our small little family. Each evening, we gather around the little tree--normally because Noah can't take the anticipation anymore and begs us to do it--and Noah reminds us that 'It's almost Jesus' birthday!' Then we'll talk for just a minute about how God sent His only Son to be born as a baby because He loves us and wants to be close to us. Maybe we'll talk about how the star at the very top of tree--the last box to be removed, No. 24--was a special sign that God made to tell people about Jesus. Then, Noah will remove the appropriate box, take out the treat, and put the box back in, with the new side out, reminding us that, 'When Jesus comes, He makes everything new!' Then, he enjoys the chocolately treat.
...and boy, does he enjoy it!
May God draw your own heart closer to His in this special season, reminding you how much He loves you, and may you follow that same star, all the way to the King, to bow, to worship, to bring Him your gift, and to let Him make all things new.