SO LET’S TRY IT AGAIN.. AND MAYBE START A NEW TRADITION…
Last year on the first Sunday of Advent I used the kids’ time during worship to suggestion a whole new way to “mark Advent”. These days, the humble old Advent calendar with its little paper doors & Bible verses has been rather completely eclipsed by versions that are either a) significantly more commercial or b) considerably more fun or c) BOTH. The range includes everything from daily revelations of chocolate thru to even a gin/scotch countdown. Heck back in the day one of my step-sons was over the moon for the Star Wars one we found him.
Now it’s not that I particularly relish being a party pooper but.. you can scour scripture and/or any Advent devotional you like and I will suggest that you would be hard pressed to find anything suggesting that the themes of the Christian observance of Advent include getting a sugar-high, getting drunk, or really anything that has much to do with me getting anything strictly “for myself”. Actually it is mostly quite the contrary.. with most Advent writings and lessons calling us back to selfLESSness.. acts of giving.. and especially a time for thinking about who we are supposed to be (called to be) FOR the world.
This, of course, is where my (not actually mine… I totally stole the idea from the internet) suggestion of a completely different kind of Advent Calendar becomes interesting.. a “calendar” that doesn’t give US something but instead encourages us to GIVE AWAY(!?!); .. a “calendar” that - rather than turn us in toward our selves - instead reminds us of the needs of others in our world. A REVERSE ADVENT CALENDAR.
The idea is to take a basket/box and put it either in your kitchen or somewhere prominent for your family. And then rather than focusing on what the “Marvel Super-hero Advent calendar” gives you each morning.. instead gather a food item from your pantry and set it aside in the box for the food bank. (Googling the Regina Foodbank will usually give you a list of what they need most.) At the end of Advent you will thus have a box/collection of 25 items that you can then drop off at the church or take to the food bank yourself. (As I suggested.. making this a “family practice” can go a long way to teaching our young people both the joy of giving and much about what Jesus teaches us about being kind to each other – most especially those who have less than we do.)
Give it a try!!! And like I said, maybe make a new part of what your family does every year to turn yourself outward during the holiday season.
- Pastor Stewart