December 1, 2021 | Joy Fehl
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.”
You might recognize those lines from Clement Clark Moore’s beloved poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” It sure sounds nice to have visions of sugar-plums dancing in my head. For me the line could read, “As visions of shopping lists and a packed holiday calendar danced in her head.” The idyllic version of Christmas painted so beautifully in the popular poem is a stark contrast to reality we often feel as adults this time of year. It isn’t just the adults that get a skewed view of Christmas either.
Christmas is a season of expectation and hope. For our children, the world has taught them that this means the expectation of their favorite present under the tree, their elf’s arrival, and the hope that Santa Claus finds them on the “Nice List.” We love these traditions and they spark so much childhood imagination and joy. We just want our children to believe that these are not the true meanings of expectation and joy at Christmas.
There is another beloved section of literature, not from a famous poem, but from the gospel of Luke.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
Right there, in Luke 2:8-11, is the reason that Christmas is about expectation and hope. The expectation of the generations waiting for their Messiah. The hope of a savior that would save them all. Jesus’ birth is the beginning of our hope that we are set free from our sins and the hope of heaven.
How exactly can you help your children understand that real expectation and hope of Christmas? This year, we would like to provide your family with an Advent bag. “Advent” comes from a Latin word that means, “arrival” or “coming.” Around the world, the tradition of Advent includes a countdown to Christmas through calendars, candles, red paper chains, chocolates, flowers, and so much more! Here at Venture, we want our children to know that they aren’t counting down to gifts, but are counting down to celebrating Jesus’ birth! Our advent calendar is focused on the countdown to Christmas in three ways:
Scripture - You will read through the entire Christmas story in the gospel of Luke. It is spaced out with just a verse or two each night! What a great way to spend family time focused on Jesus.
Service - Teaching children that they get to be Jesus to other people can be hard! We have included ways to get your children thinking thankfully and thoughtfully. Take a meal to a hurting neighbor, buy diapers for a new mother, make sugar cookies for your neighbor!
Family Memories - Strong Christian families find a balance of Christ, fun, and a good mixture of both at the same time! We hope these activities help you make great holiday memories this year.
As your family participates in Advent this year through our Countdown to Christmas bags, take time to pray together. We are hoping that as a family, you can identify one friend, family member, or family that does not know Jesus that you would be willing to invite to Christmas Eve. As you read through the scripture together, take time to pray that these people will know the expectation and hope they have in Jesus. Pray that they will join you for Christmas Eve at Venture, and that God will work in their hearts. We know how great the hope of Jesus is, so why wouldn’t we want to share it with the world?
Merry Christmas from my family to yours,
Joy Fehl, Children's Pastor
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