Christmas Craziness

November 18th, 2013

Christmas is a season of wonder and joy. At least it is supposed to be! For many of us Christmas has become a season of stress and endless to do lists. In my town the Christmas stuff appeared in the stores the day after Halloween. Every year the pace of the season seems to get faster and more frantic. I call it the Christmas craziness.

Perhaps it’s time to S-L-O-W Christmas down.

In the church we have a wonderful tradition that invites us to do just that. The four-week period leading up to Christmas is the season of Advent. It is a quiet time of waiting that helps us slow down as we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Christ Child. We remember that Jesus came to us through a human family, so many of the traditions involve our families. It can be a wonderful way to deepen family connections, make memories, and spend time together.

“The Key to Advent is to heighten the sense of expectancy while avoiding commercial fuss and hype.” (quote from: Living the Christ Life by Louise Mangan and Nancy Wyse)

This is easier said than done when extra commitments, overfull schedules, and Christmas advertisements bring noise and distraction into our lives. Is it possible to slow down the season and drown out the commercialized clamor? I believe it is.

This year I was privileged to co-author an Advent devotional book for families Advent A to Z: Prayerful and Playful Preparations for Families with John Indermark.

Beginning December 1 and running through December 26, each day explores an Advent-related word that begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. There is a short reading that is followed by suggestions for activities ranging from games to discussions, crafts to outreach projects, journaling to devotions.

The idea was to keep things as simple as possible. There are many suggestions for each day, but it is not necessary to use them all. So for example you could

  • Create Advent journals for family members and sit together after supper to write and draw together. Use the journaling prompts provided.
  • Use the discussion questions provided to encourage family members to talk about the theme of the day. This would be a great activity to do as you eat supper.
  • Chose one of the crafts or playful activities to enjoy with your children. These activities are very simple and do not require extensive preparation.
  • Choose one of the outreach projects (also known as an act of kindness).
  • Watch one of the suggested videos or explore the featured websites.

We've also written a congregational event to introduce Advent here.

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