I'm loving having our own home this year and not traveling during Advent. The homeschooler in me is missing having my kids home learning together so I think I went a little overboard in my reflecting on Advent in order to work it into home life with the kids as a family. I had a whole bunch of ideas and they seemed totally unrelated until we sat down Monday night to talk about it with the kids. I hadn't planned the whole thing, or even realized they all tied together. We began by talking through the beginning of Creation and God's plan for mankind. I had planned to use the Jesus Storybook Bible as I'd found others suggested. Sadly, I have no idea where ours is right now amidst book boxes. Anyway, we talked through it and then talked about how when Adam and Eve broke that perfect and special relationship with God, he promised the great rescuer. We talked about how that didn't happen in a year or even a lifetime for generations to come. We explained how each generation waited and watched for the rescuer. Then the kids wanted to open the german chocolate advent calendar we brought home last week. As they were waiting I saw opportunity to link it to advent. We wait each day and we look forward to that little treat as a way to help us wait and watch for Jesus but to remind us of how God's people did this for thousands of years. We then lit a candle that's a little table decoration the kids made (thanks Mom for your fun crafts you send every year!) E wanted to turn off all the lights so we talked a bit about candles and how they help people watch. Somehow we ended up talking about Hanukkah and explaining that to the kids and somehow tied in the waiting and watching-I can't even remember the whole conversation now. We had a really nice half hour or so as a family talking about Christmas, and Jesus and God's plan for the world and for us, about candles, and watching and waiting and Hebrew history. Just when I wondered if we were totally off base and they maybe were losing the thread with information overload, E had the funniest observation. We were talking about the miracle of Hanukkah and how they were watching the oil and waiting to see if it would last until they had more oil or not. Ellia had been deeply studying the advent calendar pictures of Santa and snow and such. Suddenly, she piped up "they were adventing, or whatever that word was right mom?" I asked her to repeat it-not sure I was following her thoughts. "They were adventing, those people. They were waiting and watching and you said that's what we do at advent so they were advent." Ty and I tried not to giggle as she was so serious. The flickering glow of candlelight on her soft and serious face was beautiful. Yes dear girl, they were adventing. They were adventing like the Hebrew people did for generations, like they still are, like we still are. Yet, our waiting and watching is not for the promised rescuer. We know him, as Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom the Bible speaks of. Our adventing now is to wait for his promised return. We have the hope of the promise of the great rescuer fulfilled! That is why we are here, living in Belgium. That is why we are learning a strange language and why we are dropping our kids off at a school where we are totally out of control of their situation. That is why this advent, like many to come, will be spent far from loved ones and dear friends in our former home. Like a single candle in the pitch black night, we strongly hold out light. Like John 1:5 says in the Bible, the light came to shine in the darkness but the darkness did not overcome the light. This adventing season may those of us who know the great Rescuer turn our eyes to the future when he returns. May we look for opportunities to love others and serve others the way he taught us. May we share true hope and joy through our friendship with him that he alone made possible. Yes dear girl, the Jewish people were adventing and I'm so glad that we can pause and remember each evening in the dark, by candlelight, what that waiting must have been like. I cannot wait to celebrate come Christmas morning for our rescuer has indeed appeared to rescue any and all who call out to him!
**disclaimer-I know that Hannukah wasn't about waiting for the promised Messiah, that wasn't what we were talking about. Those with young children know how the thread of discussion can go all over like this.
Carolyn & (sometimes) Ty