I was browsing Pinterest today.
I know that the season of Advent has not begun, but there are already a plethora of ideas for celebrating
This year, Advent begins on November 29. In many families, the tradition is to have an Advent Calendar to help the children prepare for Christmas.
The majority of the Advent calendars I have seen have a small or large gift attached so that each day, a gift is opened by the child or children.
As I express my opinion, please remember, that I am not one who appreciates Advent calendars. This was not a tradition in our home as the kids were growing up.
We did other things to teach them about
Christmas, but calendars were the last on the list.
That said, I still have concerns with the use of Advent Calendars for the giving of gifts, each day, to prepare the child for Xmas.
When we prepare children for Christmas, I feel, that it is our duty to prepare them for the birth of Jesus and not for the receiving of gifts.
When a child is given a present each day in Advent, and many times, these are not small presents,
what are they learning?
They are learning that they are entitled to be given a gift daily without earning it.
They are learning that it is better to receive than to give.
This becomes entitlement.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't keep traditions going if you use an Advent Calendar with lots and lots of gifts and presents for the kids.
I'm saying, maybe you should tweak the tradition a bit.
If you want to give small presents,
give your children Holy Cards with the lives of the Saints on them.
Give your children their first rosary.
Give your children a Catholic book on the birth of Jesus.
Put small notes in the Advent Calendar telling them how much Jesus loves them.
Write them small notes telling them how much you love them.
Encourage other family members to send small notes of love to your children.
Give your children small chores to do to offer up in Thanksgiving for Christmas.
Plan outings to a nursing home with your children on a particular day.
Set up dates with your children to teach them about love and giving.
Pray with your children.
Get them ready for the birth of Jesus.
On occasion, tuck a small gift into their calendar for the day.
Make the emphasis of Advent on preparing for Jesus to come!
It's amazing how quickly children learn and respond to the love of God.
Just like our Christmas tree past, that was lopsided and ugly, we need to embrace the beauty of Christmas remembering that the first Christmas was celebrated by a single family, in a smelly manger with sheep and other animals present in the cold.
The mother and baby shivered, and the father stood guard to protect them.
Maybe, I'm just a romantic, but the beauty of that moment, when the King of Kings, who would one day die a miserable death on a cross for our salvation, was born to a woman...
Words just aren't enough.
If I had been a sheep in that stable, I would have bowed to my God and my King.
If we are to bring back the true meaning of Christmas, it must begin in the family.
Pope Francis said that the family is the beginning of society and it is through the family that the world will be saved.
I know, it's just the middle of October, but think about this. You might not agree with me, and that's all right. I would just ask that you think about this.
Christmas is more than just presents and food.
Christ has got to be there, somewhere.
Teach your children.