by Clare Schmitt
Can you believe we only have two weeks left until Christmas?
I think children give us a whole new perspective on Advent, on the preparation for the birth of Christ. It is more than just being good, so St. Nicholas/the Christ Child/Mom and Dad bring those presents. They really seem to understand the concept of preparing our hearts for the Christ Child. In our family, we do the Jesse Tree and the Advent Wreath. The kids love lighting the candles and picking an ornament for the Jesse Tree and coloring it, and reading the corresponding bible verse.
As a kid, I remember putting straws in the manger for Baby Jesus every time we did a good deed. My mom finally had to tell me that the point was not to get as many straws as possible, but to do good deeds as way of preparing for Jesus. Each year, as they get older (3 and 5) and understand a little more, I find myself being drawn in more and more to the Advent season. I am starting to treat it how I used to treat the New Year. I always made resolutions like “I’m going to go the gym five times a week” or “I’m going to cut back on the TV” or “I’m going to lose ten pounds,” etc. Now, I find myself in the Advent season, searching for ways to prepare my heart for the Christ child, thinking “I need to be more patient with my children,” “I need to be kinder to my spouse,” “I need to pray more,” “I need to trust the Lord more,” etc.
Watching my children await the birth of the Christ-child with eager anticipation has enkindled in me some of that same child-like anticipation. I can’t wait to go to midnight mass and sing “What Child is This?” I can’t wait to watch my kids put baby Jesus in the manger, put that last ornament on the Jesse Tree, take out the purple and pink candles in the Advent wreath and replace them with red ones. I can’t wait to creep softly into their room on Christmas morning, and say “Jesus is born!”
Who am I kidding, they’ll be the ones running into my room on Christmas morning at 5am, saying “Is He born yet?!?”
Wishing you all a blessed and joyous remainder of Advent!