Week 2 of Advent from John Lewis’ book, Finding the Treasure in Christmas: A Guide to celebrating Advent for Families —
- Put up some or all of your ornaments and your Nativity set.
- Read a suggested story from the New Guideposts’ Christmas Treasury, found in Appendix II.
- Watch Frosty the Snowman (Theme: the snow coming to life and then melting symbolizes Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection).
- John 1:14 about the Word becoming flesh as you light the second Advent candle, which is the “Bethlehem candle.” In Bethlehem we will find all the details of Jesus and His coming.
On our tree are ornaments we’ve bought, and ones others have given us. Some were homemade, some picked out in a store. Some are shiny, some faded. These ornaments make our family’s Christmas tree unique. Each year we have added new ornaments to the mix, filling our tree with memories. So, when we decorate the tree, we remember the people, places, and particulars of our family’s story.
Just as our ornaments remind us of our family’s specific story, they can also remind us that Jesus has a story, full of particulars and details. Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, in the small backwater country of Israel. He arrived on a particular day and year sometime around 4 BC. In the Nativity, we see the stable’s manger, Jesus’ swaddling clothes, and the shepherds from a nearby field who sprinted to see Him first. These elements all point us to the truth that Christmas is rooted in a story, which, like all good stories, is full of details.
When we put up our ornaments and Nativity set, we remember that the “Word once became flesh, and dwelt among us.” God came to earth as a person, a child, an adopted child even, so people could see God in all the particulars of Jesus’ everyday life-and our life, too. Jesus was God’s ornament for us all to see. His glory became inseparable with the ordinary routines of eating and cleaning, listening and learning, working and playing.
Here is the good news: Jesus came embedded in a time and a place. He, the sinless King of Glory, experienced all the everyday details of life so that we could have a new perspective on every aspect of our lives. The places and people of every culture, the ordinary and sometimes the dreary circumstances of life, all of these matter to God. We, Christ’s body, are God’s ornament.
- Share some of the stories or memories of your favorite ornaments.
“O Come All Ye Faithful” (verses 1 and 3)
God, You were, are, and have always been full of life. In dogs and dolphins, strawberries and sunsets, and Adam and Eve You have shared Your life with us. That first Christmas when Jesus came down to Earth, You pitched Your tent in our very own neighborhood. You came to us fully human and fully divine, full of light and life. For all those times You have made Yourself known to us through people, relationships, and circumstances, we thank You. Amen.
John Lewis lives in Tacoma, Washington and is a father of three grown children and husband of one Christmas-loving wife. He is the director of Kingdom Story Ministries and passionate about seeing the next generation of Jesus followers grow and stay faithful over their life time. Building meaningful and enduring traditions during the Advent season, the month before Christmas, was certainly one way their kids found long term faith roots. Those 15 years of trial and error, singing carols and squirming in their seats, reading and sharing, putting up the tree, lights, ornaments and star one week at a time, they were well worth the effort. Though far from perfect, we offer to you our flexible approach and variety of ideas for developing Christ centered Christmas traditions. May your kids, year after year, grow anticipate the faith element of Christmas alongside all the fun of the season; may their roots run long and deep for the challenging life they have ahead of them.