A couple of nights ago we offered free babysitting for parents who wanted a night out. The parents could go on a date, wrap presents, or finish up shopping. Whatever they wanted to do. We made ginger bread houses with the kids, crafts, and read story books. My favorite was reading, A Tale of Three Trees. The older kids (mid-elementary) took turns reading the pages to the younger kids. In the spirit of my manifesto of approaching Christmas with a child-like spirit, I played duck, duck, goose with some of the kids. I don’t think I will ever forget one of the 8 year old’s comments, “It’s funny watching old men run around playing duck, duck, goose.” It was a joyful evening and a win/win for parents and children alike. I think I particularly love the fact that it was a very intergenerational evening. There was no television or electronics, just children and adults joyfully interacting.
This past week we also opened our home to our congregation in several ways. Our church board members, called the Session, and their spouses came for dinner one evening, the Choir came the next night for a potluck, and the youth came on Sunday. I feel that many seeds of hope, love, and joy were sewn in our time together. There is something about eating together that is so very binding for a family of God’s people. Jesus chose a meal to be the foundation for one of the sacraments. He gave it to us to nurture us in our faith and draw us together as a body. Sitting at table with one another is a very good thing.
Tonight I shopped for my family. I can’t say much about what I got just yet, but I can my gifts are very motivated by my manifesto intention to buy gifts that honor God and to make some hand-made gifts. Tonight I bought gifts for my children that will help them grow in their faith. I will be personalizing them and enhancing them I don’t want to say more than that just yet, but will share what I did after Christmas.
Lastly, I have been very intentional about greeting as many strangers as I can with a wish for a Merry Christmas. Many seem to appreciate it. Also, I have continued to read and journal daily on stories about Jesus. A daily dose of Jesus, not just scripture, but specifically reflection upon Jesus has been wonderful and I am seriously considering making this a regular part of my devotional diet once Christmas has passed.
I know none of these actions are very earth-shattering. Nevertheless, cumulatively they have made my experience of Advent more full of love, peace, hope and joy. When all is said and done, I think this will have been an Advent where I have experienced and hopefully offered many touches of grace. This Advent has been more Jesus full. What more could I ask for? Advent blessings to you.
For those of you who haven’t read my Christmas Manifesto, click here.