OLIVIA MARYBETH SARA KAYLEE ASHER MEGGIEBEAR ALYSSA THIRZAH HALLEBELLE WENDY EVE JOSIE HADASSAH ELIZABETH NIMI
That's like our biggest group EVER -- and if you haven't commented saying you're in, PLEASE DO. We want your name on the list!
Now that you're here, let's talk about exactly what we're doing:
What IS Advent? This is the season of the church year just before Christmas that's set aside for preparation. That makes sense, right?
How is that different from getting ready for Christmas?
* Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, because he came to set us free from all the stuff that makes our lives miserable -- mostly ourselves! That is absolutely something to throw a party over, so naturally we buy and give gifts and bake goodies and decorate trees and sing the best songs of the whole year. It's awesome.
* Advent is the time to get OURSELVES ready to celebrate. It's the time to remember WHY it is that we're doing all this great stuff. If we're going to celebrate being SET FREE, we have to know that we're NOT FREE in the first place.
Huh? Okay, think of it this way.
* If you were locked in a big room with every cool thing you ever wanted in there, and a big old bed to lounge on and a frig full of food to eat, and somebody unlocked the door so you could come out ... you wouldn't be all that excited about it, right?
* But if you were locked in a dark closet with no food or water or (yikes!) a bathroom, and somebody unlocked THAT door and let you out, you'd want to do the happy dance, eat something amazing and maybe even cry for joy. I mean, right?
We don't always realize it, but we spend a lot of our time sort of locked in a closet. We feel trapped by things like:
* wondering what other kids think of us * worrying about whether we're "good enough" * wanting what other people have * feeling like parents don't understand * being afraid we're going to fail * wishing our family got along better
The whole point of having Jesus in our lives is that we don't have to wonder and worry and want and be afraid and feel bad and wish things were different all the time. Jesus came to say, "Hey, hang out with me and I'll show you a happier, more loving way to live."
Do you see how that works? If there were no Christmas -- if Jesus hadn't come -- we would be pretty funky and sad 24/7. Since Jesus DID come, we have something to celebrate, which IS Christmas. And if we see how trapped we've been, that celebration is going to be even MORE special than it already is.
How do we prepare ourselves during Advent, then? We're going to do two things this week.
TODAY/WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY: We're going to figure out what closets we're locked into
FRIDAY/SATURDAY/SUNDAY/MONDAY: We're going to imagine what it would be like if Jesus came along and unlocked every single one of those doors (DON'T WORRY ABOUT THIS ONE YET -- I'LL POST INSTRUCTIONS FRIDAY)
So what do we do?
1. If you haven't made a December 1-24 calendar in your Talking To God Journal, do that first. You'll see ASHER'S at the top of this post, and here's HALLE BELLE'S. If you want yours included here on the blog, just take a picture of it and attach it to an email to me.
- 2. In each of the squares for December 1, 2, 3, write down one "closet" you feel trapped in. It might be something from the list in blue above, or it could be some other thing that keeps you from being the person God created you to be.
3. In your Talking to God Journal, write about those "closets." Tell God how bad it feels to be locked in there, how you wish you could get out and why it's hard to. Ask God to unlock the door. Then just close your journal and your eyes and rest with that for a minute or two. Don't try to change anything yet. Just be with it.
4. If you want to post a comment, tell us ONE of those "closets" that you feel locked into. I'll go first. Sometimes I feel like I'm trapped in trying to make sure EVERYBODY is happy, when that isn't really my job. I can never actually do it, so I feel guilty more than I need to. Yeah, I definitely need for God to unlock THAT door!
I can't wait to see what closets you discover, my mini-women.