My Advent giving Box

Dear Friends,

My Advent giving Box

Yesterday churches lit the first candle for Advent and tomorrow the first window of Advent calendars will be opened to reveal little — or, in some cases, BIB — treats to start the day.

Children will rush downstairs in the morning to open a window and find a chocolate or sweet with a parental warning that it cant be eaten until after school. Or they might find a note with a clue to where a hidden treasure can be found. It might seem great fun, but I imagine houses full of lost tempers as parents try to insist that children get ready for school BEFORE the treasure has been found. Good luck with that one!

The Advent Calendar doesnt always provide a good start to the season of peace and goodwill to all parents!

I dont remember the tradition of Advent Calendars when I was a child, but I understand it has grown to include more extravagant gifts in recent years. From one supermarket, I understand, you can have a bottle of wine each day. Not for children, I assume!

The Advent Candle yesterday was for Hope and there will be plenty of that in anticipation of opening tomorrows first window. We HOPEfor something we will like!

Instead of taking something OUT of an Advent window I invite you to put something IN an Advent box. I am starting my Advent Box of Boxes in which I will put something IN each day rather than taking something OUT. In fact, I am going to draw up two boxes, one for the morning and one for the evening.

Each morning I will GIVE something to God — it can be to the community, charity or person if you dont have the same faith — and in the evening I will say thank youfor something good that has happened by making a note of it and putting it in the box. There can be many variations of the Advent Box of Boxes which can be prayers for different people in the morning and answered or thank you prayers in the evening.

By Christmas Day my Advent Boxes can be full of gifts and prayers to God who deserves much more than I can ever give!

I met the Advent Family when I was in Africa — Hope, Peace, Joy and Love — and they had a mother called Faith. Their mother was a strong African woman who, as the names of her daughters suggest, always had a joyful smile, a heart for peace, lived with hope in the darkest of times and loved her neighbours. In Africa many children are given names that translate into words like Wisdom, Truth, Light, Grace or those of the Advent mothers children. They also seem to take the meaning of their name everywhere they go so isnt it wonderful to think that when you say her name, Hopeis with you or Peacewill greet you, Joywill dance with you or Lovewill embrace you! They couldnt do it without Faith.

I used the story of the Advent Family in my message this weekend which you can listen to by clicking on this link