Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Advent Readings this year: "Good News of Great Joy"

Children on board. What a difference do they make when it comes to experience the holidays! Well, at least that's how we feel. It seems like we are dealing with a complete different animal!  I don't think we had ever been surrounded or better being aware of so many community events, Christmas parties, gifts exchanges, parades, presentations, etc, etc, as we are now.  It really feels like upgrading to a new level of "busyness"!!

OK, ok, I don't want to rain on anybody's parade. We are actually enjoying it. We really had a good time putting our tree up, and letting our little one helping us hang the ornaments for first time.  I have a gingerbread house on the counter waiting to be decorated, and a cookie making family event lined up on the schedule. We are looking forward to have a simple family gift exchange and actually this year we are planning to get together with some neighbors to celebrate, which doesn't happen very frequently. So yes, we believe this is a wonderful season to create family memories and reach out to our community. However, it's the crazy-ness and the busyness feeling around the air that gets me.

We are learning that the "crazy-ness" of the season finds its perfect breeding environment in a culture that heavily market on children by selling to their parents the need of making sure every Christmas must be memorable for their little ones. And of course, since we're relatively new to the parenting scenario, we hadn't felt the full force of this phenomenon before. Now, we believe every Christmas should be memorable, however the means and the reasons why our culture wants to make it memorable are way off the real thing. So much busyness makes one wonder "why", if the One that we celebrate CHRISTmas for had such a simple and modest birth. Yet, history changing.

Now, there's nothing wrong with enjoying the "jolly" of the season. However as a family we really want to make sure we make it memorable for the right reasons and in the right way. That's why we are trying to start a new tradition at home with our family Advent readings. We know for sure this is not the only way to prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus into this world. But we are trying to keep it simple and not let ourselves be sucked up on the frenzy of the commercialization of the holiday. I feel giving priority to quietly follow these readings at home with our family is going to keep our hearts and minds in check instead of driving ourselves insane with over-scheduling. This year we are using one of the free resources found in Desiring God. We love all the materials they have available for spiritual growth. Their website is such a treasure chest, we really encourage you to check it out! The Advent Study we are following is called "Good News of Great Joy" and they even gave me permission to translate the readings into Spanish to make them available for those of you Spanish Speakers. Click here to go to the translation  We hope this is a handy resource to enrich your Christmas, and help you make your Christmas memorable for the right reason, to receive the best gift that has ever been given in the history of humanity. The Gift of our Savior. May he be always not only the center of your Christmas, but also the center of your life!

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