5 days ago
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Flashback - Advent
We have a few advent traditions that we just can't miss. We have an advent countdown tree that I made several years ago. It has 25 heart pockets that are filled with candy. This year I filled the pockets with numbers and put the candy in a dish every night at supper. All of the kids enjoy this and Gaelle especially took great joy in remembering the candy every night.
We also have an advent wreath and we light the candles every Sunday leading up to Christmas. We read a scripture that goes along with the candle and this year we sang a verse from a carol that went along with the candle.
Several years ago I purchased the book "Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent" by Arnold Ytreeide. Unfortunately my 3 kids were too old for the story and we didn't even finish it. So I pulled it out this year for the youngest 2. It was a big hit and something we looked forward to each night. The story was a little intense for Gaelle so there were nights I heavily edited the story as I read.
At the end of every reading there is a brief reflection section. We usually read this and took a few minutes to discuss it. I was just hit so many times with the very issues Peter and Gaelle deal with as children who have experienced loss.
The first week we hit on the topic of fear. Jotham is in a scary situation and he calls out to God. God answers with "I will help you." A wonderful promise of the hope we find in Jesus and the message is not just for kids from hard places, but for all of us.
Family heritage is important to the Jews of Jesus' day and it's something that Peter and Gaelle will have to deal with their entire lives; their lack of knowledge of their biological heritage. The book repeatedly mentioned heritage and the pride and honour that comes from our family. Christmas is a time when we reflect on the past and all of our memories from the past and it's a time to celebrate family. It was a sharp reminder once again of all that Peter and Gaelle have lost. They are a part of our family, but they can't contribute to our Christmas memories.... not this year.
But "Jotham's Jouney" reminded us that as Christians, we have a rich heritage. We belong to the King of Kings. As Peter and Gaelle struggle to find their place in our family and in their world, I pray they remember the truth in our advent story. I pray that all of my children freely share in the riches of God's kingdom, even though there is an evil one who would like to sell us into slavery, full of doubt and lonliness and isolation.
I could go on and on with the powerful truths in this children's advent book, but I'll end with a verse from Isaiah 55:8-9 that I've been dwelling on during this past month.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
It's all about trust. Do my children trust me? Do I trust God?
This past year has been full of ups and downs.
Full of joy and tears.
I know that God has a perfect plan for our family and my goal this year is to completely trust God with my family even if it's not my way.