This is a guest post from my wife, Kim. I’m glad she agreed to be part of the #ChristmasCountdown2020!
I grew up in a church that observed the Advent season. We lit a candle each week on the special wreath. And for the past few years, we have practiced the same tradition.
A reminder of the coming of Christ.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to practice the same tradition in Kids Worship. Then I realized I had some work to do.
I really didn’t know much about why we lit a different candle each week. What was I supposed to say as I lit the candle?
Even though I had observed this tradition year after year after year…I really had no idea what Advent even meant. I felt a little embarrassed that I didn’t know.
So as I prepared last year to share this tradition with kids, I got educated and my heart began to change. The wreath, the candles – it’s tradition. But traditions are meant to have meaning.
I began to share with the kids that Advent was a time for us to prepare ourselves, our hearts for the coming of Christ. This season, these weeks leading up to THE day, our hearts had work to do.
A few years ago, I easily became overwhelmed with “all” we could do as a family. The decorating, Elf on the Shelf, an Advent Calendar, our own traditions, the church calendar (remember we’ve been a family of church staffers; therefore, our holiday calendar has typically been full of things we must do, attend, lead, represent, the list goes on…).
How do we do it all and enjoy and find meaning in it all? How do I fit in all the Pinterest ideas so that my child has memories, and crafts, and loves it all!?!?! Because, let’s be real. I’m not that mom, but, man, the guilt if I don’t.
So I thought: why would we do an advent calendar? Why do we have these Christmas traditions?
And it hit me. It’s not about the doing, it’s about the preparing. It’s about celebrating the coming of a King, the King, the Savior of the World. It’s about making memories while we give our family space to be: space to love, space in our schedules, and space our hearts to prepare room for the King.
If I feel like I have to do all these things, I do them because I’m Type A, but I do not enjoy them; I do the opposite of prepare Him room. I do it to check it off a list, to post a picture on Instagram, to pat myself of the back. And then I’m exhausted.
I haven’t prepared my heart, I haven’t set an example for our daughters, I haven’t released anything so that I can feel loved and just be. My husband jumps in to take off the stress, to help it all happen, so that my list gets checked off.
Just like with a full closet, I have to get rid of stuff. I have to clean it out. I have to make room for what’s important.
Same with my heart. I have to get rid of the check lists. I have to get rid of the guilt. I have to get rid of what doesn’t hold meaning.
But this year, this year we are going to do what we do to make room. To prepare our hearts. To love and be loved. By each other, and most importantly by the King of Kings.
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