Last year I wrote a Christmas Manifesto. It was a series of intentions for how I wanted to experience Advent and Christmas. Last night I hopped on Facebook before going to bed and discovered that my good friend, Angie Southard, had posted her own Christmas Manifesto. With her permission I am posting it for you as a guest post. I hope it inspires you. It has me. Consider writing your own manifesto. Post it some place prominent to remind you every day. Here’s Angie’s post…
“Last year my friend John Arnold posted a blog describing the Christmas Manifesto. Here is a link to that post : https://thepracticaldisciple.com/2009/11/the-christmas-manifesto.html.
Essentially he suggests approaching Advent in a manner that is engaging and focused instead of passive. I found it interesting and wanted to challenge myself this year to do something similar. I do not want Christmas to happen without me focusing on the meaning of this time of year. I want to be a part of Christmas, share Christmas, not just let it happen around me. I want to help teach my children about Christmas. I want my kids to be focused on Christ and not solely on presents or Santa. So this Advent season will be my first attempt (hopefully not my last) at creating and following a Christmas Manifesto. To me it is similar to doing something for Lent but for Advent instead.
Here are my intentions for Advent 2010:
1. I will write a daily gratitude blog. I used to do this on a regular basis. I have fallen out of this practice and would like to get back into actually writing down my words of gratitude. I think in terms of gratitude often but I find when I am writing them down (or typing them as it will be), I am more able to truly feel gratitude for the many blessing in my life. In my mind, I am writing these words to God when I create a gratitude blog. I am hoping this will help me make the time for this simple gesture and to do it on a daily basis.
2. I will pray each day for a specific person. My plan is to pray about who I should pray for during Advent, make a list of the names that come to me, one for each day of Advent and write each name on a piece of paper. I will place these slips of paper into a jar. Each day I will select a name from the jar and pray for that person throughout the day. The reason for placing each name in a jar is so that I won’t feel like I’m going through a check list and so that it will feel like I’m praying for the person God feels I should be praying for on that particular day. I am also doing this because I keep thinking about doing something along these lines. This is as good of a time as any to try this idea out!
3. I will make gifts. God has given me a talent for creativity and I have learned this year that God intends for us to use our gifts for good and that He has given them to us for a reason. I hope that by making gifts for my loved ones that I can be inspired and motivated to use this talent to share God’s word and do what He wants me to be doing.
4. I will be positive and cheerful with others wherever I go. I want the joy and love of Christmas to shine through. I often find that people get hurried and crazy and crabby this time of year – too many parties, too many obligations, focused on money and presents, and being so focused on all of those things that they forget that this is a joyful time of anticipation and beginnings (that’s for you Dana). I often feel this when I go shopping and see others running people over with their carts in total oblivion or I see people get so upset when they can’t purchase a gift because a store is sold out. I find that I start out happy on these shopping adventures, but after encountering rude, grumpy, and negative people, I too become grumpy and negative. I am going to make a conscious effort to not let these types of actions bring me down. I am going to make a conscious effort to be positive in hopes that I can counteract the negativity that can be prevalent this time of year.
5. I will teach my children about the meaning of Advent and Christmas. I feel a bit lame in using this as one of my intentions because I feel it is my intention every year. But I want to be more focused on it this year and I hope that by reading my intentions daily, I will remain focused. I hope to share with my children during dinnertime when we light the Advent candles, when we decorate the house and tree, and I will use our church’s weekly bulletin to help with the discussion at the dinner table. I will also make an effort to grow and learn more myself so that I can be a better teacher to my children.
I am not sure where this journey will take me. I hope and pray that it helps me grow. If you feel motivated or challenged to create your own Christmas Manifesto, I’d love to hear what you are doing!”
Thank You Angie. You are an inspiration!