W e are about to enter into the third week of Advent and I hope you are enjoying this season of expectation and arrival as much as I am. Gifts abound during the season of Advent. Some gifts are more obvious than others this time of year but as we slow down and create space together, it’s wonderful how the gift of time, giving and the Christmas event can shape us.The Gift of Time
I know what you’re thinking, “What time? There’s so much to be done. And now I have all these extra holiday gatherings to go to.” And yes, this is true and yet may I encourage you to enjoy the extra time and events you have with family and friends by being fully present to them (read "not your phone, or shopping list, or all your unfinished tasks") but present to them personally and clearly. Let them know you appreciate them and the impact they have on your life. If you have school aged children take some extra time and enjoy Christmas break with them. I know I’m already planning on playing a few board games with my four-year-old nephew - and believe me I’m not a Candy Land fan but I am a big fan of Ben. I will also be taking my daughter downtown Chicago to ice skate. Do I skate? We’ll not really but I love being with my daughter.How can you simplify your activities to create more time?
Who in your life will benefit from you sharing with them how much you appreciate the time you spend together?The Gift of Giving
There seems to be no shortage of opportunities to enjoy the gift of giving during Advent. We all have the Christmas List we are checking twice if anything, so we don’t have to be in all the long lines after Christmas because our Mom bought us a shirt that’s not really our style even though we told her many times. Anyway, sorry - where was I? Consider these gifts as enhanced ways of giving.• The gift of time, to a single parent to enjoy a movie.
• The gift of an experience, doing something that creates memories for the family instead of another trinket that is going to collect dust.
• The gift of learning, through a class for that hobby they have never have gotten around to.
• The gift of generosity, by donating to someone's favorite charity on their behalf.
• The gift of intentionality, by giving them a gift that speaks to their primary love language.
The Gift of the Christmas Event
There really is something wonderfully hopeful about the Christmas Event that I love returning to each year. I love how Eugene Peterson renders it from John 1 in The Message, "The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish."
Each year I choose an Advent reader to help me continue the process of wrapping my heart and mind around the reality of the Incarnation. This year I am using Richard Rohr’s Preparing for Christmas. Below I’ve also given ones I have used or friends of mine have used and are on my list for the future. More than stocking stuffers (although that’s not a bad idea), any of these are a great way to create space to reflect, invite, and engage with The True Reason for the season.