As you can imagine, we fail pretty regularly.
As you can imagine, not being a planner makes it challenging to conduct organized daily activities to celebrate the days and weeks of Advent, but thanks to some new perspective regarding this special season, we are definitely off to a more focused start.
I thought I might share a few of the things we have done so far in coming posts, but please, please, please know my heart is not to in any way brag or boast. Just because we have managed to conduct a few simple activities for 8 consecutive days in no way makes us more holy, more worthy or even more cool.
For years I have lived in a place of feeling inadequate about how our family doesn't do things right, or good enough, or with enough spiritual emphasis. I read too many blogs that make me feel little and condemned by the craftiness and creativity of others... I hope my blog is never such a place. Instead, I hope it is a place where you can come and feel encouraged that there is another goobery, flaky, hot-mess-of-a-wife-and-mother out there who can totally empathize with you and the fact that your son just dropped his pants and peed on the floral landscaping right in front of the large sanctuary windows during second service worship. Or, that your daughter may have in fact completely lost her mind over her inability to zip up her fleece. Or that you just arrived at the Target returns desk only to find that instead of the shirt and candle you were bringing back, you instead have in your bag: a sippy cup, a baby sock and two stuffed monkeys dressed in doll clothes and pipe-cleaner crowns.
Not that I would know about any of these things specifically. Ahem.
You and I both need to find a way to stop living in that place of feeling condemned by some expectation or burden that we should never place on ourselves anyway. Living like there is something we have to do in order to receive God's favor is just a flat out lie. Jesus did it all and I'm done with believing that I have earned more favor or more of his love because I made sugar cookies shaped like angels with my kids for Christmas.
Can I get an amen?!
We started our Avent celebration with an idea stolen from the Feminina Blog. The grandmother in this family hosts their children and grandchildren each Sunday for a festive Sabbath dinner. On the first Sunday of Advent, they light the candle, have a devotion shared by her pastor husband, and then she gives each of the 15 or so grandchildren a gift of Christmas PJs.
Obviously, I did not do the large scale home-cooked family dinner, but we did embrace the idea of a celebration and got the kids excited about a countdown to Jesus' birthday.
We lit the first candle in our Advent centerpiece...
...read a passage from the prophet Isaiah foretelling of the coming King.
Opened a clue from from our advent calendar and went on a treasure hunt for three wrapped PJ gifts hidden in the house.
Put on our jammers and then danced around like crazy animals on the guest bed.
And let me tell you, although it was fun... it wasn't perfect. And had I built up any unrealistic expectations for the evening I probably would have been pretty sad when Mr. Jenkins said he didn't like his PJs and refused to wear them.
But it's not about new pajamas. It's about a baby boy born in a manger on Christmas Day.
And we're going to try to learn as much about Him and God's redemptive plan set in place before the foundation of the world was laid.
And if we are not wearing our PJs for that...