Saturday, December 03, 2011


As many of you know, I love Advent.  I feel somehow cheated, let down whenever I go straight into Christmas without leading up to... like I tried to leap with no momentum.  I need visual reminders, tangible traditions, things I can see and touch and feel and smell and hear to remind me of what is coming-- rather, what has come, Who has come, and why He came.  I love history, and my favorite type of writing is a "snapshot," taking a moment out of someone's life and "getting inside their head" so I understand what they felt and what they would do.  Advent helps me do that with the Nativity.  I can imagine the shepherds and their terror, then their wonder.  I can imagine Mary, on the ground in a barn, hardly more than a child, bringing the Son of God into the world in the same bloody way millions of women have done since Eve.  I can imagine Joseph's determination to find shelter for his wife, his taking of a stable, his internal struggle between despair and trust in the God he had chosen to obey... there's Anna and Simeon, and with them thousands of Jews, wondering if God had forgotten them utterly, waiting beneath what seemed like an Iron Sky.  Every facet of this story of His first coming points me ahead to the reality of His second coming.  We, too, are a waiting people.

But it all takes time for me.  If I'm to understand the faith, the trust, the fear cast out by love, then I need to hear it again and again.  If I'm to truly worship amidst the gift-wrapping and lights, to truly love amidst the gift-giving and carols, then I must give the Spirit ample tools of Scripture and prayer.  It takes time for my too-stubborn-too-cold heart to Remember just how much my Father gave for me.

The candles on a table, the cadence of my husband's voice reading ancient prophesies of judgment and deliverance, of a Returning King.  The singing of "Away in a Manger" to a squirming toddler on my lap-- all these help me to Remember.  (Read Ann Voskamp's thoughts on the topic here.)

This year we are just following the liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer Year 1.  It's a lot of Scripture and not a lot of commentary (none), but I like it because it is something to read every day.  Here is a simpler, more straightforward daily reading schedule (from Providence Church- HT: Noel Piper) If you wanted something for each Sunday, The Village Church offers a free Advent eBook here. 
Other friends have recommended Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree Advent devotional.  Download it free!

Also a wonderful exploration of the potential hazards of emphasizing Santa to children by Noel Piper is here.  She pretty much says exactly what I think... just better. :)

I must take a nap now, but when I wake up I'll post pictures of our {exceedingly humble} first attempt at a Jesse Tree. :)

1 comment:

Sharon / Markus said...

1) Kids get a candy cane and an orange in their stocking.

2) Limit to 2 gift each (usually from the grandparents)

3) Some books from us to the kids

4)GF Gingerbread men

5)A cookie exchange

6) Apple pancakes for breakfast.

7) Decorating our little tree with plastic balls from $1 store. : )Then letting the kids each choose one ordament from my stash (which my mom gave me) to put on the tree.

8) Decorating the house with lights, candles and our other German decorations.