If you have not heard yet, and the odds are remarkably in your favor that you have, I am teaching advent to the 3 & 4 yr olds. 🙂 One of my endearing traits is that when I am excited about something, most people know. lol.
Well, to give the details. If you have not heard of advent, it is the tradition of the more conservative Christian church to celebrate the christmas season by celebrating advent. In the tradition of advent, each Sunday of December focuses on a different part of the Christmas story. Not the christmas story with the red rider BB gun. Nor the one with the fat jolly fellow and the many frisky reindeer. Nope, the real one with angels, shepherds and a miraculous birth.
This past Sunday, the focus of our lesson was on ‘Hope’. Hope of His coming, both his first advent and his second advent. Despite some mis-management on my part of getting the craft materials, it turned out to be a lot of fun. We will follow with a week on love (Jesus’ birth), joy (the shepherds), and peace (the angels).
As I have prepared for these lessons, reading and researching, and digging for a craft that 3-4 yr olds can do in a classroom. Not as easy as it sounds. I have been struck with how epic the Christmas season is. Often I wondered growing up why after christmas day, life seems bland and empty. One reason (of many), I think, is that for a month or two, we are blasted with the ‘most wonderful time’ and other sort of christmas songs. Somehow promising excitement, something new, something amazing, all climaxing on Christmas day. This does play havoc with my idealist personality. Of course, the songs and anticipation is not necessarily innapropriate. After all, we are celebrating the birth of the God-man, Christ Jesus! The bringer of hope and life and light. His birth, death and resurrection were certainly of ‘epic’ proportion.
Yet, this season, promises something dramatic now, and here, and on a real December 25th! And so, though we enjoy reading Luke 2, often it seems like a bunch of hype and commercialism. Consider it, we decorate our homes with colors and shiny things, the outside is covered with twinkling lights. Seasonal drinks, songs, cookies and more are overabundant.
But it is not lost if we keep Jesus’ first and second coming in perspective. His first coming was not just a historical event, but something that dramatically impacts me every day. Because of His sacrifice I have life, and life abundant. And his second coming, is not something that is merely mythical or fantastical. It is a reality that is coming soon, and it will be a joyous event for the faithful. So, I propose that this christmas season we keep all of the hype in perspective, not tossing it away as some sort of ‘humbug’ as all the christmas stories decry. Nor becoming so immersed in the season that our heart grows dull and it just becomes an excuse for gluttony. Rather keep Jesus in focus, meditate on the joy and wonder of both the first advent and his soon to be second coming. That is the way of life.