What is Christmas? It’s all about the incarnation. Christmas is truth wrapped in a small package. It’s God laying in a manger. It’s eternity touching earth. Christmas is hope. It’s what made Jesus’ life and ministry possible, which in turn made it possible for Him to die on the cross, and ultimately, to be resurrected. To save us all.
It surprises me how little emphasis is put on advent in the wider Christian church. It’s usually considered a “liturgical” thing. But I think advent is so important. It’s so important to have a period of solemn reflection, of preparation. Yet advent is also a hope which grows inside each day. Joy at the coming birth of an infant who changed everything.
I may just be a stuck up Episcopalian, but it really bothers me that advent calendars all have 24 or 25 days. Advent does not start on December 1st, people. (Well, I guess some years it does…) Advent starts four Sundays before Christmas. It can be anywhere between 22 and 28 days depending on where Christmas falls on the calendar. I searched and searched for an advent calendar with 28 days…it simply doesn’t exist. I guess in our culture, advent has come to mean “a December count down to Christmas”. It has seemed to become secular if observed at all.
So naturally, I decided to make my own. I wanted my son to have a real advent calendar. Last February, I looked around online for ideas, and adapted one I found to fit my style…and of course…modified it to have the full possible 28 days. (This year we’ll only use 23 of them)
I’m super proud, as I am with most of my craft projects. I started this, as I said, last February, and here we are 10 months later finally finished. I used a chain stitch to place the numbers on the pockets. I had never done that stitch before, and used an online tutorial to learn. There was a definite learning curve. If you look closely, you’ll probably be able to guess which ones I did first! I drew the pattern for the holy family by hand, and cut my own felt pieces. I based it off of a picture I found online. I used the machine, however, to actually stitch the pockets to the background. I definitely lost patience with the hand sewing! (And I was running out of time).
This year, I will fill twenty-three pockets with activities for Elias. He will learn about the Christmas story, about saints such as St. Nicholas, and get to prepare himself in his own toddler way for Christmas. I’m very excited!
Now I just have to get started on one for baby boy #2…I think I’ll wait at least until after the new year!