The Year I finally got my rear in gear and had some kind of advent calendar up-and-running by December 1st.
Truth be told, I probably decided 2006 would be The Year. And then 2007. And what eventually became 2008. And so on.
But I am elated to announce that I only procrastinated for the first six or seven years.
Since having children of my own, I’ve been on the prowl for a way to count through the advent season in our household. I thought about sewing something like the one my grandmother made for us when I was a kid: a flannel tree with lots of Christmasy felt ornaments that hooked onto little pearl buttons all over the background. There was even red pom-pom fringe on it.
I’ve drooled over expensive ones and plotted to knock them off. I even found a Christmas tree version from Pottery Barn that we used last year in a pinch.
But the truth is, I’ve been looking for something that was less “Christmas” and more Christ.
I know I’m not the only one. There’s a groundswell of parents struggling to bring holiness and meaning to an otherwise secularized season, desperate to make “Christ Mass” something other than a mere payday for the toy makers.
I flirted with the idea of a Jesse Tree. I love the concept and some of the executions are just plain gorgeous. But.
I got overwhelmed. There are about 6 bazillion versions of the Jesse Tree. Books, trees, types of ornaments abound. Each one has a slightly different take. And my head started to hurt.
All I want for my kids to get out of the advent season at their young ages is just a little more Jesus. A little more love for Him. A little more wonder at His miraculous birth.
Certainly, I don’t want my kids to think Jesus’ miraculous arrival here on Earth is a “little” thing. But I want to give them an age-appropriate measure of the miracle. Precept upon precept, line upon line. A spoonful of the Savior everyday.
And let’s be real. I’m trying to avoid creating yet another Christmas “obligation,” a complicated ritual to adhere to, in-depth readings we will never actually find the time for, and that are over their heads anyway, or the pressure of making sure every moment of advent is stiff with spiritual meaning shoehorned into it. I just want them to hear His name at least as often as they hear “Santa.”
Which, to me, means The Word. Plain and unadulterated.
So that’s what I did. Each day, one short line from the nativity story, straight out of — and almost unedited — God’s Word.
I printed mine on 4″x6″ index cards, rounded the corners with a corner punch, clipped them onto my card rack and hung it on the wall in under an hour. Easy and done. (Two of my favorite words.)
So, if you’ve been procrastinating on the advent calendar thing, I’m sharing. You can use this until you find (or make) that perfect one of your advent dreams. Because you’ll totally do it. Someday. Right?
In the meantime, click to download either the 4×6 Index Card version or — if you don’t have a printer that handles 4×6 — the Letter Size version. Print the number pages, flip them and then print the verse pages on the back side. Corner round or cut apart as desired, find a fun way to display or hang them and voilà.
Enjoy and be blessed this Christmas!
P.S. Please don’t be too envious of my mad photography skills. Photos this crap-tastic don’t happen overnight…