Leaving Advent Calendars Behind

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, December 16, 2013

Advent calendars are wonderful. Great ways to show small children, visually, how many days have to pass before Christmas comes. I have used Advent calendars in my house for years. They are pretty and useful. In years past, the young people here have really appreciated the yearly calendar. But now, my two younger children are in their late teens. Yes, I got an Advent calendar, but my 19 year old did not want to open any windows (this year, at least). And my 16 year old is opening windows in the calendar, but is not particularly excited about it.

What do I do when some Advent activity or small tradition of Christmas is left behind? How will I feel? Will my unrealistic expectations be dashed? What then?

This is where prayer comes in. Prayer can be calming. Prayer can be life-saving. I can pour out my disappointment to God in prayer, and get some relief. (some release, too!) I know, intellectually, that my children are growing and changing. As each new year passes and each December proceeds toward Christmas, I need to grow and change, too. My prayer life helps me come to terms with that part.

God knows our disappointment and fear, as well as our anxiety, anger and distress. God is familiar with our joy, excitement, and laughter, too. These are God-given expressions, meant to express our feelings, desires and the innermost cries of our hearts. (chuckles, too!) God calls us to pray, to communicate, to curl up alongside and have a heart-to-heart talk. Just what I need, so often.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for such wonderful ideas as Advent calendars! But help me come to terms with facts: my younger children are growing beyond such things. I know You can bring me—You can bring us—to fresh understandings of the Advent season. Thank You for this time of preparation. Prepare our hearts to receive You. Amen!

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