This time of year is special in our home. We celebrate Advent. Each night, almost without exception, for twenty-five nights we light the growing circle of candles and pile onto the couch together to read aloud.
We read one book from the first page adding one additional page each night. We all pretty much have this one memorized. In fact, the kids yesterday put on their own play in the back yard with most of the lines directly from the book.
Mary was adorable with her head covering/slipcover from the arm of an armchair and her small bear wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manger/baseball glove. Her donkey was the red wagon pulled by her red headed brother who was Joseph/Innkeeper/Shepherd/Angel/Wise Men. The blond brother only wanted to play scowling Herod looking exactly like the illustration in the book and Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes at the same time. He isn’t one for making speeches, whereas the redhead rather enjoys it. Did you know you could make angel wings from Nerf shields and a king’s scepter from an old broom? Yes.
The other book has ornaments that go along with it. We read a different chapter each night and the kids hang a new item on the tree to tell the Christmas story as it weaves God’s gift of love from the beginning of time through to Jesus’ birth. The colorful illustrations add a lot to the story .
The third book that I was reading, until someone borrowed it to copy a picture of a lion and it never made it back to the book pile, was One Wintry Night. The artwork in it is simply amazing. Hence the reason it’s borrowed to copy, I’m sure. Last time I saw it, it was on the easel table open to a picture of the sea. (Note to self: FIND BOOK!)
This time is such a special time and one I hope the children always remember. I think it’s worth pushing through even when kids are squirmy, fighting over hanging ornaments, and blowing out candles. It certainly get easier the older they get. Yesterday’s impromptu play makes me think they will.
These are the stories of our faith. And I want them to sink deep into their hearts. I want them to know that there is more to the universe than what they can see. That there is a Creator that made them for a purpose and that they are deeply loved. And that in the darkest of days there is light and hope for us all.
May you feel the blessing of that love, light, and hope today.