25 days: The joy of Advent
A few years back I had a twenty-five day countdown to Christmas blog series. It was a wonderful way to reflect upon the joy this season brings to my heart. I decided to do the same thing again this year. As we count down the days to the best present the world ever received, I would love to hear from you about what makes the holidays special for you and your family.
Growing up, I had never heard of an advent calendar until my brother and I acquired an adopted Grandma on the way to a college basketball game. I didn’t learn of advent calendars that night, but I did get North Dakota roots when my mom volunteered to drive the grandmother of one of my dad’s players to an away game. Grandma Nilsen would not dream of children not having a grandmother close by. So right there in the spacious and roomy backseat of our Pontiac Catalina (affectionately known in our family as the S.S. Sheran), we became grandchildren to a sweet woman who had no obligation other than her own moral compass to love us.
She didn’t just pay lip service to this adoption either. There were so many ways tangible and heavenly that she showed us her love. Today, we revamped an old tradition in our house that remembers one started by my ND grandma. That first Christmas she gave us advent calendars. Those drugstore calendars with fun little scenes on the front, we would punch out the perforated boxes every night before bed revealing a tiny chocolate treat. A few moments ago, my older daughter said, “Mom, remember those calendars we used to get? Those were the BEST chocolates ever!” I had to smile sheepishly because I knew the theme of today’s blog. Before that first calendar, I had never really heard of advent. Oh! I had anxiously awaited Christmas morning, but I never knew there was a word for that. Advent, meaning coming or arrival, became a new and cherished word.
I love to craft, and I adore Christmas. Each year, I spend hours that morph into days and weeks creating gifts for those we love. This year, I merged those loves into an upcycled treasure that my family can enjoy for years to come. Using old woolen sweaters, I created mittens – twenty-five to be exact. We attached them to a wreath (although a garland would work well too) with clothespins. Each night as we prepare for bed, we will remove one mitten and of course, look for a little treat inside. All the while, I will be reminiscing on how one wonderful, giving, fascinating, intriguing, never challenge her in Scrabble, but incredibly loving woman showed us God’s love in all the ways that mattered. And isn’t that what Christmas is really about?