If you try to change status quo, be prepared to find blessing, even when things get bungled. It’s in the messes that Christ blesses.
I didn’t plan on celebrating Advent with my four year old. It just didn’t occur to me. In my quiet time, I celebrate Advent as an inward preparation to bend in a spiritual posture to receive Christ.
I just did not envision doing anything so meditative in nature with my four year old TJ, around a flame or anytime past dinner. Usually, we are winding down the day and reading Bible stories quietly in bed, tucking in prayers along with the covers.
I figured we have plenty of traditions that point to celebrating Christ — Christmas singing, Christmas readings, and Christmas crafts, eating and baking. TJ is so Christmas’d, he literally evangelizes the meaning of the season on the preschool playground.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
The Reality of Simple
But, then I read Ann Voskamp’s post 3 Simple Practices for a Peaceful Advent. Her photos of Advent with her children were so beautiful, it made me want Advent for TJ. I read through her suggestions.
Hey, I can do this! Her ideas did sound simple. I would soon find out, in my case, how different simple turned out in reality.
While my younger son Baby CJ napped, I scrounged around for a make-shift Advent candle wreath. I matched a motley crew of candles with a plastic wreath, downloaded an online Advent devotional for kids, and got everything set.
Visions of a peaceful candlelit evening danced in my head.
TJ sure was excited to get word that he wasn’t going straight to bed after bath time. Jumping like a kid in a candy store, TJ couldn’t wait to have some cinnamon apple tea with Advent.
As Hubby and I explained that “Advent means ‘waiting'”, TJ spilled, slurped and giggled. We wiped, shushed and started over. Several times.
With ants in his PJ pants, TJ chomped at the bit to light the candle.
“Can I light the candle?” he’d interrupt, every other second.
“Yes, after we talk about what the candles mean.” Back to twitching and squirming.
When we shared the devotional story of Abraham and his nomadic life of waiting, I drew a tent and a camel.
TJ’s response? “Can we go camping, Mommy? … Is that a camel? … It looks like a horse.”
After a few spills and close calls of the candle getting shoved into the plastic wreath, I crumbled inside. There you go again, getting all sentimental with your lofty ideas..
I was tired from a long day gone rogue, regretting I ever tried to attempt such a feat as Advent with child. I hurried to finish up with prayer. I asked everyone to share one thing God gave us, that we had to wait for.
As if suddenly awaking, TJ blurted his answer first: “I thank God because I prayed for a baby blother.”
I sat up inside. I knew God was laughing at my stressed out nerves.
I underestimated the reality of God by my bias and human intellect.
Inspired by the Avent candle of Hope, we finished out our circle of prayer by offering our individual hope-requests.
TJ ended the night perfectly by asking with a yawn,
Dear God, I hope Christmas comes quickly. Don’t let it take so long, please. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
That night, I humbly learned by lighting candles with my four year old son, the true message of Christmas: Jesus brings hope, even in the presence of disbelief and doubt.
What other areas of my life am I leaving status quo, that God may want to make anew?
What are your hope-requests?
Let us offer up them up in joy and be ready to laugh in disbelief.
“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.” ~ God (Is. 42:9)
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.” ~ God (Is. 43:19)
Be sure to catch my next post in the Holiday Sharing Series! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. I love connecting with you through them. SUBSCRIBE NOW to get updates from FaithBarista hot and fresh directly in your mailbox via email (click here) or RSS (click here) news reader.
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