Well, Christmas is less than a week away.
That happen fast.
So fast, in fact, that even my best laid plans went to the wayside. I mean, not completely. We did our advent study on the days we could. We crafted some ornaments for our tree. We baked a few things.
However, it certainly wasn't the adorable and cozy month I had in mind. Nor was it the theological powerhouse I had planned to construct for my kids. So far, we've done our best. And I'm calling it now...that's good enough.
Six days left though. And yesterday morning my kids reminded me that it doesn't have to be so hard. It was breakfast and they begged for the candles.
You see, since my kids were little we have done candlelight dinners for Advent. It started as a way to tell the story, that story where light dawns on a dark and broken world, and then it stuck. Even if we don't get the activities in, the deep discussions, all the service projects, or any of the crafts, we always have the candles.
We always have the light to remind us to focus on the Light.
It's flexible. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a random snack. Light the candles, remember the Light.
So with a simple six days left here is the plan for focusing on Jesus in the craziest days of the season. Go grab some candles, and let's do this together.
We tell the story. Over and over again. Sometimes we read straight from the scriptures. Often we just paraphrase retelling the story where ever we left off. Occasionally, we use a devotional or read a picture book. Either way, we tell the truth over and over until they can wrap their little minds around the story. Light a candle and tell the story.
We play the carols in the background. (Who are we kidding? In this house they never stop.) Sometimes we crank them up and sing them together. We ask the questions. What if it were you? What do you think it was like? How does it change things for you. We engage their hearts in ways that move them. Light a candle and then reach for their hearts.
Some days the only real action we take is lighting the candle. Other days we do a craft or bake something. Other days we make things to give to others or go visit. This whole Christmas thing? Is about God incarnate. And we happen to be the gospel incarnate. We provide the flesh to theology. The hands to the ideas. We show our kids what it is to touch and feel the gospel in real life. Light a candle and then reach for their hands.
Maybe one of my favorite things about candlelight dinners is that they make everything feel special and fun. Sure we might be eating mac 'n cheese straight from a box, but it's hard not to feel festive when everything is flickering and twinkling in the glow of candlelight. So we celebrate. We laugh hard and long, we drink beverages with too much sugar, and we feast more often. Because that was the point right? He came to give life and life more abundantly.
What are your favorite family traditions? What is your favorite way to celebrate the season?