A couple of years ago, I went to see A Christmas Carol at Geva Theater in Rochester…a fantastic show which featured one of the youth of PPC! Of course, I knew the story, it’s a pretty familiar one to many of us. And the story centers on Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold-hearted moneylender who despises all things Christmas: the songs, the decorations, the “Christmas cheer” annoyed him like no other. The story goes on to tell a story of heartache, brokenness, and redemption as Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. The character of Scrooge was so preoccupied with disappointment and brokenness that he was unable to experience the warmth and joy of Christmas.
Like Scrooge, we are broken people living in a broken world. In this season, we hear all about “peace on earth” and “goodwill to all”: I love those sentiments, but let’s be honest, they can be hard to see sometimes. For this reason, we need Advent. We need to enter into this season of waiting and expectation. We need to remember that despite the condition of our world, there is a reason for hope. And our hope has a name: Jesus Christ.
For us, the challenge in this season is: how do we keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus? In this busy season where we often find ourselves running this way and that way; how do we take the time to invest in our relationship with Jesus? Below, I have listed a couple of ideas you might try as an individual or a family to celebrate Jesus this Advent. If you have other traditions or ways of celebrating Christ, send them my way…I’d love to hear about them.
Do a “reverse Advent calendar.” A reverse advent calendar helps us count down to Christmas while serving our neighbors! Each day in December, place a food item (or two or three!) into a box or basket. Wine boxes with dividers
work great! After Christmas, take your food items to a local food bank that serves hungry folks in our community. Our church supports the Perinton Food Shelf here in Fairport, but there are many other outlets for donations!
Make an Advent calendar or wreath: There are lots of ways to incorporate an Advent calendar or wreath into your home. It can be as simple as a small wreath and 5 candles on your kitchen table (we use LED candles with a toddler in the house!). Each week, light a candle and read a Scripture verse for the great themes of Advent: hope
(Lamentations 3:21-24), peace (John 14:27), love (Matthew 22:36-40), and joy (Isaiah 35:1-4).
A great way for families to prepare for Christmas is using a creative Advent calendar: “Instead of opening daily doors with pictures or retrieving small gifts from pockets, adults and children can mark the day-by-day journey to Christmas by praying/drawing on a blank calendar template. Pray for a person or write and meditate on an Advent word each day. Just the small amount of time it takes to fill the space with doodles and color each day can create a time of quiet, reflection, and listening to God.” To find an Advent calendar template you can use, use the following link: prayingincolor.com/handouts.
With Great Joy in Being Your Pastor,