How I feel about activity Advent calendars and other Christmas ponderings

This is an advent calendar I can fo sho finish.

This is an advent calendar I can fo sho finish.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only mom that gets completely overwhelmed by Advent activities at Christmas time. I love Christmas but the amount of Christmas magic moms feel the pressure of creating is intense. And when people post 17 quintillion Christmas activities to do with your kids, it’s hard not to feel like we need to do them all. Then we get Advent calendars with activities to do with our kids. Hear me out. This is where some of you moms thrive. This is your crafting Super Bowl and you cannot wait to do this stuff with your kids. That is amazing. So often I wish this were my gifting. Alas, it is not. Advent calendars are wonderful at reminding our kids, and us, the reason we celebrate Christmas and I think they’re useful for teaching. But if I’m being honest, and please don’t judge, to me it feels like you’re making me do a chore chart for Jesus. There I said it. And I’m a teensy bit ashamed I said it. But do you want to gander a guess at how good I am at following through with a chore chart? I lose steam about the same time my kids do…1 week. After one week my kids will not do any more chores and do not care that they aren’t getting money. This is pretty much exactly how an Advent activity calendar works for us.  We’re good to remember to do it for one week then we forget and don’t do it anymore. 


Guys, we still love Jesus and my kids know what Christmas is all about. It’s all ok. But I still feel bad about it. Now that you feel better about how your Advent calendar is going with your kids, let’s move on…


As I’ve been pondering this season, I tend to try and go back in time to imagine Joseph and Mary and their trek to Bethlehem. I try to picture what it must’ve been like to birth a human in a stank barn…with animals around. The smells alone would’ve taken me down. I let my mind wander to how Mary must’ve felt to be given the responsibility of raising the Son of God. This is where my mind goes nearly every year. Except this year my mind has wandered to another place:  Heaven.


I’ve been thinking about what God must’ve have felt sending his Jesus down to us. He didn’t send Him down with power and might. He sent Him in the form of the most helpless thing on earth: a baby.  Was God nervous about this? Was He watching Mary, a teenager herself, holding His son thinking, “Oh oh, hold His head, Mary, always support His head! Are you just going to let Him lay there in his dirty cloth diaper? He needs a change. Oh for the love, Joseph, why don’t you try walking around to calm him down? Maybe bounce him a little because obviously what you’re doing isn’t working.” Imagine God, the perfect father, looking on as 2 imperfect humans raised His kid. I would be a stress case. 


And what about Jesus? He’d been with God since the beginning and now his Dad’s making him go down to earth in the form of a baby who can literally do nothing for Himself? Jesus, the Godman, would have to be dependent on someone else. This is a complete contradiction to His very nature. Jesus isn’t dependent on any human; humans are dependent on Jesus. What must’ve gone through His mind? He was willingly going to live in the confines of a human body but with the power of God inside of Him…and do it perfectly. That’s a tall order.


As I let myself think about these things, I’m struck by just how much God loved us. It’s all there in John 3:16—“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son…” And the thing is, He knewwhat it would cost Him. Love always costs us something that’s why it is such a dear and precious thing. God gave up physical closeness to Jesus so Jesus could be physically close to us. God with us. Immanuel. It was part of Jesus’ very name that He waswithus. He loved us so much He wanted to be withus. If there is one thing I want my kids to know this Christmas, it’s that God wants to be withthem. He wants to be near to them. He wants to spend time with them. It doesn’t have to be fancy. He doesn’t need a schedule of how the time is going to go or what activities we’ll be doing. He’s not concerned about the food that will be served. Heck, God’s first “with us” experience was in a stank barn with animals. He’s not one for pomp and circumstance, although He could be because that is what He deserves. No, He just wants to be with us. 


So whether you do an Advent calendar every single blessed day with your kids, or just read them the story of the birth of Jesus, just be sure to tell them Jesus came to be withthem. In a world where “social connection” has made people feel even more alone, our kids need to know God is with them. They are not alone. God made sure of it. He sent Immanuel. 



PS Have you bought one of my Christmas books yet?!? Grab one to read for your littles this Christmas season! Go to the Shop tab at the top of the page and order yours today!