I grew up having an Advent Calendar. It was a handmade wall hanging with a green gingham Christmas tree carefully crafted with hand sewn snaps. The tiny red felt pockets below the tree held the precious ornaments that would soon adorn it. On the back of each intricate ornament was a corresponding snap that would connect to the tree. My older sister, Kristen, and I would take turns poking our preschool age fingers into the tight pockets anxiously anticipating which ornament was waiting inside. Would it be the miniature rocking horse, the toy soldier, or the angel with the gold headband? Maybe it would be the swirled peppermint candy or the gingerbread man embellished with colorful sequins?
the december 24th pocket
One thing we could always count on was the December 24th pocket. It would hold Baby Jesus in the manger. Each year, my mom would have to reattach the snap to the back of this ornament with a stitch of thread because my sister and I had repeatedly moved Baby Jesus from snap to snap to find the perfect spot for Him.
“Maybe we should put Him by the Wise Men since they came to see Him after He was born,” my sister would say.
“No, I think He should go by the Christmas cookie in case He gets hungry,” I would reply.
baby jesus hung by a single thread
Each tug at Baby Jesus loosened the threads holding the snap in place. Eventually, Baby Jesus hung by just a single thread. Cock-eyed and tattered, He would hang in the perfect spot in my three-year old mind. The twenty-four snaps on the Advent Tree were complete with Baby Jesus.
do we treat jesus childishly?
Do we ever treat Jesus childishly? We keep Him in our pocket and pull Him out when we feel like we need Him. We decide on a place for Him to be in our life but move Him when it’s not convenient. When “snaps” in our lives loosen or when the “threads” of our life break, we try to reconnect the pieces, but the fix is only temporary. We forget Who Jesus is and why He came to earth.
The season of Advent should be a time of reflection as we take inventory of our own hearts. Are our hearts prepared to receive the gift of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior? The Advent readings and prayers remind us of the Christian virtues of love, joy, hope, and peace. While Advent lasts only four weeks of the year, it should transform our lives for eternity.
a magnificent tapestry
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 states: He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. Many of us use the phrase, “Christ-Centered Life”. How does God want us to use this phrase to describe our lives? NorthStar Church writes: “A life centered in Christ starts with the realization that the Lord is the source of all we embody. He created us and He authors our story.” When we allow Jesus to be the author of our story, the tattered snaps and broken threads of our lives weave into a magnificent eternal tapestry.