More than a daily chocolate

Sometimes it was difficult to pry open those little perforated doors. I’d stick my finger nail under the paper flap and try not to rip it as I felt the tick-tick-tick of the perforation letting go. Inside I would discover a thin, Christmas shaped chocolate.

After comparing my design with my brother’s and sister’s, I’d pop the candy in my mouth and let it slowly melt on my tongue. A hint of cardboard altered the taste of the chocolate, as it grew smaller and smaller; disappearing for another day.

This was my idea of advent.

Up till now, the word mainly was associated with a 8-1/2″ x 11″ plastic mold, filled with chocolates and covered by a paper Christmas scene depiction. Each year my mom bought us one, counting down the days from the first of December till Christmas. The only deviation was the one year when our dog at all three of our calendars, and we had to buy new ones. Luckily, the dog survived.

::

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent.

As I sat there in church, watching my pastor light a purple taper, I realized that I have no idea what Advent is all about. A fact I probably shouldn’t be admitting, as a Bible college graduate.

My sudden desire to learn more about this season and the symbolism behind it surprised me.

It probably shouldn’t have; Christmas seems different to me this year. Maybe it’s because of the death of my grandma. Possibly it’s because of our reduced budget for Christmas presents. Most likely it’s because I am tired of picking up the kids’ clothes and toys, and don’t have an overwhelming desire to buy them more.

Regardless of the cause, I’m just not that into the materialism of Christmas this year. I don’t even really want presents. Instead, I want to focus on the why and who of Christmas. Our children are old enough now to understand the more spiritual aspects behind it, and Josh and my job, as their parents, is to teach them the things of God.

::

I didn’t know where to start. I searched online for information about Advent, but all I came up with was a definition, the stark facts behind the ceremony.

I wanted something more.

How do we impart this to our children? How do we make a celebration of the coming of Jesus a daily event, like opening the door for chocolate?

Luckily, Ann Voskamp was already planning on helping me out.

Ok, not me specifically, but those of us who follow her blog. She put together a devotional on Advent. And right there in the beginning she’s explaining to me what Advent is all about:

The word, advent, it comes from a Latin word. And it means “coming.” Aren’t we, the whole globe, aren’t we waiting for the coming of Christ? For the God in the manger who makes Himself bread, the Savior in swaddlings who makes Himself our robe of righteousness, the Christ who makes precisely what none of us can — Christmas. It is only Christ alone who can make Christmas. Ann Voskamp

During advent we celebrate the coming of Jesus, both His original coming that was so long-awaited by Israel, and His second coming that we look forward to today.

Rather than a countdown to presents, parties and food, Advent calls us to remember and to expect.

Today is the first day.

We’ll open the book, read the scripture, and allow the words to slowly melt in our heart.

The Jesse Tree Advent Devotional that Ann Voskamp put together is beautiful,

and today is the first day to use it.

Click here to find out how to download it {it’s free} and create your own Jesse Tree for Advent.

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16 thoughts on “More than a daily chocolate

  1. I love the idea of expecting His coming. The anticipation was touching me even as I read your post. Great stuff! Thank you, Melissa. Looking forward to this season and what God is doing.

  2. Thank you for this post! I was also looking for something to do with my kids to celebrate this advent season. We tend to get so wrapped up in the wordly traditions of the Christmas season that we forget what Christmas is really all about and why we celebrate! I want my children to know first and foremost Christ’s love for us in sending His son! I LOVE Ann I am sure this devotion will be perfect!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    • Glad I could help direct you to a good source, Amy. :) I totally agree with you about getting wrapped up in the traditions of Christmas. I love those traditions: hot chocolate w/marshmallows, Rudolph & Frosty, stockings and pictures with Santa. But I want my kids to remember that first and foremost we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus and the significance of His coming.

  3. I have also recently wondered about Advent, which is shameful because I know Pastor Steve has done sermons/ceremonies on this and it goes to show how much I really commit to memory. I am excited to follow and participate. Thanks for the introduction and reminder! Yay, Jesus! ;-D

    • I do remember hearing P. Steve talk about it. I was going to check the podcast from yesterday to see if he might have mentioned it there. :) You should definitely check out Ann’s blog…she’s got such a way with words.

  4. It’s just a guess here –the different view of the commercial side of Christmas? It might be the toys :)

    Or maybe God at work in your heart. I’m thinking it’s God.

    Happy Advent Melissa

    • So, I haven’t printed out the book, but I went through it this afternoon with the kids. It’s a little over their head and I had to do some modifications, but it was a step in the right direction. It got us talking about God and that’s what I wanted. :)

  5. I clicked through to your post via Twitter, Melissa, because I thought this post might echo my own thoughts on this topic lately. (They do. See today’s post for proof.)

    I am nervous, to be honest, because shedding some of the cultural Christmas trappings to give the Jesus Christmas room to grow is an uphill battle. But I’m also eager to make this change. It’s time. I’m encouraged to know I have fellow warrior moms with me in this fight.

  6. Loved Ann’s Jesse Tree, but I think it might be too much for me this year. I am looking for a simple one for my kids (and I am already behind) but I so want to emphasis Jesus this month instead of Wish lists and countdowns to presents!!

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