Oh, how I love this time of year. It’s time to ready my heirs, my heart, and my home for celebrating the most wonderful event in history.
I start preparing for the grandkids months ahead. Because they are far away, and because they don’t understand waiting, I send one small gift for every day from December 1 to December 24th. Jesus is my focus. I have sent them traditional advent calendars, nativity sets to open piece by piece with relevant Scripture and Bible story books. This year I'm sending the advent candles and candle holder hoping their families will begin a new tradition. Those are mixed up with crafts projects and inexpensive toys.
One year I sent Sam two snow globes. When his little sister accidentally broke the first, he was crushed and called to tell me about it. I secretly instructed his mom to find the one labeled for later, and give it to him the next day. He was amazed that I could get it to Denver so fast! (Nothin’s too hard for a grandma.)
In preparing these “Celebrate Jesus” boxes my attention is drawn to the shiver-producing details like the wonderful angel visitations to Mary, Joseph, the wise men, the shepherds and their "Yes!" responses.
"Yes! I will mother God in the flesh."
"Yes!" Joseph said, "I will do as You ask."
The wise men said "Yes, we will travel a great distance following the star."
"Yes!" the shepherds said as they ran into Bethlehem to find the baby.
I fill my ears and heart with centuries worth of beautiful lyrics and melodies. It's hard to limit the choice, but one of my favorite contemporary songs is Welcome to Our World by Chris Rice. "Yes, Lord Jesus, welcome to my world."
(The grey letters indicate a link to a site for product information, or the songs. Just click on it.)
Last of all I decorate the house simply. We glean the yard for pine branches, holly, pine cones, and nandina. The natural greenery and the lights in the long dark days of winter transform the ordinary into something special. When we're home for the holiday I decorate a real tree with three generations of ornaments; the beautiful, the well-worn, and the ugly all commemorate Christmases past.
What are your favorite advent traditions? I hope Janet will explain her Christmas Eve treasure hunt. I think I've fixed the settings so that you can leave a comment. Otherwise, send an email. I'll do a follow-up blog to share your ideas. I can't wait to hear from you!