So, what are you getting Jesus for His Birthday? Are you shopping on Amazon or did you hit the Black Friday sales? I emailed Him for a wish list along with the rest of my family, but He hasn’t replied yet. I thought maybe I could look into His Book to see if it gave me any ideas about what He might appreciate.
It seems to me that Jesus liked to spend time with His friends, that He really appreciated gifts of service. He talks a lot about sacrifice and being the “least”.
I’m thinking I won’t be wrapping something for Him with a pretty bow or making a healthy food gift.
This year, I’m going to give Him a gift every day.
My 4-year-old, who can use the words temptation and sacrifice properly, is ready to learn about offering up sacrifices for the love of Jesus. Although sacrifice is often connected with Lent and only Lent, the purple of the Advent season means the same as that of Lent: repentance. We are to clear our hearts of sin to prepare the way for the coming of the King. One way to do this is to offer up a sacrifice as a prayer.
There’s an old Advent tradition of lining a manger with a piece of hay to represent each sacrifice you offer, to prepare the place for Baby Jesus to lie. Buddy Boy and I made mangers out of styrofoam trays (see, it always comes back to food and the kitchen with me, doesn’t it?), watered down glue and tissue paper. The hay is cut-up yellow construction paper and crepe paper.
At breakfast, he and I are going to decide on something we’ll do that day specifically for the Christ Child for His Birthday. Then we’ll place a piece of hay in the manger when we complete it, to make a soft bed for the Baby when He comes at Christmas. This is a tangible reminder for adults and a good incentive for the children, as well as an easy analogy about how our gifts of self are real, true gifts for our Lord. Some of our ideas:
- Making someone else’s bed for them
- Spending extra time with someone (playing with sister, special time with my kids)
- Working extra hard on my patience as a mother
- Giving up a dessert that day
- Keeping a good attitude when things go wrong
- My manger in past years has been solely as a wife for my husband: I thought of things I could do for my husband as often as possible as I worked to fill the manger. I would straighten the living room so it looked less like a tornado had hit when he walked in from work, pack his lunch before he got to it, give him a special greeting at the door when he came home, put lipstick on and wear his favorite shirt, hold my tongue when I wanted to say something negative, ETC. Believe me, there are a lot of improvements I can make in my vocation as a wife!
Even if you don’t have or don’t feel like making a manger (although it’s a great project with the kids!), I challenge you give Jesus gifts this Advent season. It’s His Birthday, after all.
Find all the Advent Daily Dose reflections here.
I love that my son is learning to share. See more at Things I Love Thursday.