I once knew a young woman who didn’t know for several months that she was pregnant — or maybe she was just ignoring the obvious.
I feel the same way about my world. Are we pregnant but unaware?
It is Advent, and the whole cosmos is expecting. But am I paying attention to the glaringly obvious?
Just this week, I had my head in the beauty-shop sink, its cold porcelain lip cradling my neck. My hairdresser turned on the sprayer, rinsing color down the drain. I overheard the client in the reclined chair next to mine answering the most oft-asked question of December: “Are you ready for the holidays?”
The client told her hairdresser that she’d almost finished her shopping, but hadn’t wrapped presents yet. The Christmas cards were addressed, but needed to be mailed. Her husband had strung lights on the trees, and she planned to bake all weekend long.
So, yes, she was mostly ready for the holidays. And this was how she knew …
But is this how we really know we’re ready — by the number of completed trips to the Target cash register?
Is this how a pregnant woman knows she’s ready to be a mother: If she has the nursery decorated, the infant-formula lined up on cupboard shelves, the baby announcements printed, the onesies folded?
Does this a mother make?
What if we treated the Advent season like we really treat our pregnancies? What if I prepared my heart and body for the coming Christ in the same way I approached the birth of our children?
What if I treated The Scriptures like I once treated my copy of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting?” I pored over those pages, dog-eared my favorites, memorized the contents.
What if — the next time someone asked me if I’m ready for the holidays — I would simply answer: “My heart is ready for the glorious coming of the Christ.”
Maybe you’re like us here on the Lee family farm.
Maybe you’ve been seeking more of the Real Christmas this Christmas. Maybe you’re looking for The Christmas that you can’t find on the shelves at WalMart.
Yes, yes! We are, too! We want The More!
Shall we share our ideas? (How we’d love to hear from you in the comment box.)
And might we share a few ideas with you — ideas we’ve picked up from others who have sought “The More?”
BABY BOOK FOR JESUS: Memories of the Bouncing Baby Boy Born in Bethlehem
This year, inspired by the kind folks at http://www.rotation.org/, I created a mini-book entitled “Baby Book for Jesus: Memories of the Bouncing Baby Boy Born in Bethlehem.” It is similar to the baby books many of us fill out for our newborns.
I printed copies for each children in our Sunday school. We are going through the booklet, page by page every Sunday leading up to Christmas.
Together, we ponder Jesus’ firsts: When might the Son of God have first smiled or slept through the night? What do we suppose His first word was? Where did He take His first step? When did he first roll over, crawl, lose his first tooth?
We consider his nicknames — Savior, Prince of Peace — and we explore Scriptures to learn more about his first visitors and his first out-of-the-house adventure.
(If you have Microsoft Publisher, I’d be delighted to send you a copy of this booklet to print for your families or Sunday school classes. Send me an email using the CONTACT ME button in the upper lefthand corner of the blog.)
TRAVELING TO BETHLEHEM
We are also taking the journey to Bethlehem, one day at a time. We move our Nativity figurines — Mary, Joseph and the donkey — step by step along painted paper “stones” to the manger scene. Each day, the figures move one step closer. The baby Jesus remains hidden.
We are also encouraging extra kindness in our home this December. Each time one of our family members commits a random act of kindness, he or she is invited to take a piece of straw to line the stable. When Jesus arrives on Christmas Day, the barn will be lined with kindness. (Thank you Ann Kroeker for these wonderful ideas!)
Below are links to other blogs and websites with thoughtful ideas on how to refocus this season:
Ann Voskamp and her family celebrate Jesus’ birthday — but not by exchanging gifts. Here’s a look at a family who celebrates without the wrapping paper. This is powerful, challenging.
Ann Kroeker shares great ideas for celebrating Advent with families. (This is where I first read about the Traveling to Bethlehem activities.)
Michelle DeRusha writes about “saying no” during Advent, as a way to open up the heart to the great big YES of Jesus.
LisaJo @ The Gypsy Mama is literally pregnant during this season of expectancy. She has a series of Advent posts, and here’s one that is perfect for moms who seek a slower, lower-pressure pace.
The Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts at the High Calling writes “What Gives Order and Meaning to Your Life?” It’s an informative piece on why we celebrate events on the liturgical calendar, such as Advent.
And here is a link to Ann Voskamp’s free Jesse Tree Advent Devotional. It’s free — like grace!
Today I join Ann Voskamp with her Walk With Him Wednesday series. As a community, we consider: The Practice of Christmas. How Do We Prepare for the Coming of Christ?