“At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of advent by loving and serving others with God’s own love and concern.” Mother Teresa
Growing up, we never had advent calendars filled with chocolates and prizes. The only countdown we had were these darling paper houses from Hallmark where each door and window opened to reveal a meaningful word about the season.
The celebration of Advent in our house was reserved for simple white candles tucked into a tabletop wreath.
Somehow, between the time I was a little girl and now, ‘advent’ in our culture has morphed into something so very different from what I remember.
There was so much wonder, so much mystery in the reading of scripture each Sunday leading up to Christmas. We would gather together around the advent wreath where Heather and I would debate over whose turn it was to light the candle that week.
As my dad read from the Bible, we couldn’t help but feel the significance of the moment, even though we had heard those familiar words so many times before. This was a time for pausing amidst all of the hustle and bustle of the season and truly reflecting on the wonder of a king being born in the dark of night in a filthy barn.
There were no trinkets from the dollar store. No specialty candy from Trader Joe’s. No old pallets transformed into hanging advent wall art or little bags strung around the room filled with treasures.
Just a simple circle of greenery with red berries tucked in and those long white candles.
As a mom now myself, I’m trying to keep the traditional celebration of Advent alive. Oh sure, we have several different ‘countdown’ things happening around the house. In fact, those little paper Hallmark houses I had as a child currently reside on a table in our upstairs hallway. And please hear me when I say that I absolutely love the creative ways that people have found to help build the anticipation of Christmas in their homes.
But, as I looked around my house this year and saw that it was practically bursting with Christmas in every nook and cranny, I found myself longing to carve out a little space for something more simple.
Something as simple as candles wrapped in scripture. Each one telling another part of the story of Christ’s birth. After printing out 5 different portions of scripture, I coated the backs of the paper in mod podge and then set them seam side down to dry. I then applied another layer of mod podge on top of the paper.
Each week, we will gather around these candles. There will be fidgeting and fighting over whose turn it is to light the candle. There will probably be some eye rolling and some ‘hey why don’t we get chocolate with these?’.
But we will all be there together, pausing in the midst of the craziness of this time of the year to remember why we celebrate.
And we will pray that God’s love will shine through us, far brighter than the lights on all 5 of the Christmas trees in our house.
Every year, I wait for that one moment. The one where I find myself overwhelmed by it all. Not overwhelmed by the shopping or the decorating or the baking.
But the one where I’m overwhelmed by the love and grace that came to this earth in the form of a baby.
And that this baby would grow up to teach, to heal, to challenge, to fulfill a promise.
As I ran errands around town yesterday, the song ‘Born in Bethlehem’ by Third Day came on the radio.
And it happened. I was overwhelmed. The tears began to flow as I heard these lines…
Baby Jesus, do You know
You’ll die for all our sins?
Don’t be afraid for in three days
You will rise again, You will rise again!
I was reminded of how deeply loved I am.
There is so much mystery in it. So much that I don’t understand. But I know that if I were the only person on the planet, that baby would have come just for me.
And He would have come just for you!
Hallelujah, the King is here
Given for all men
For today the holy son of God
Is born in Bethlehem
May you have moments of being overwhelmed by His love this season!
P.S. The annual Holiday Housewalk is in full swing over at Jennifer Rizzo Design Company so
be sure to stop by for loads of ideas and inspiration!