My little girls are still small--1 and 4--and they're into the holiday season. They love all of it: sparkling lights, Advent calendar chocolates, an Advent amaryllis that grows and blooms over several weeks, Santa in a musical snowglobe, the Chanukah menorah, and the Christmas tree with a bright star on top. They love hearing their Grandpa Ira's recorded rendition of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," and they love dancing and singing to Christmas music, especially by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
All these things are part of our Advent/Christmas ritualizing, but come Christmas Day, before (or maybe after) the flurry of presents, I'll add something more. I'll tell my daughters the story of a young woman named Mary who said yes to an extraordinary possibility, even though she could much more easily have said no. I'll tell them about Mary being pregnant with God's Word for nine months, and I'll remind them that Advent is the time when the world celebrates being pregnant with God's Word here and now. I'll tell them the nativity story from the Gospel of Luke, and I'll share with them how Jesus was laid in a manger, a feeding trough, so he could become the Bread of Life.
Advent and Christmas are occasions for joy, and they're occasions to teach my kids about some of the wonders of Christian faith: that God loved humanity so much that God became one of us, that a woman's consent changed the fate of the world, and that the world's salvation became food for those who hunger. I'll remind them that we, too, are part of the Body of Christ, which means we are also called to feed the hungry, and I'll talk with them about the donations I've made to the food bank every time I've shopped during Advent. I'll teach them that Christmas is about receiving the gift of God's presence so we can learn how to make our own presence into a loving gift for others.
Kate is the married of two precocious tots. When she's not chasing them or dancing around them or singing at the top of her lungs with them, she likes to drink coffee, make yummy food with her hubby, edit other people's writing, pray, and write edgy pieces on religious topics. You can check out her blog, Thealogical Lady, at lifeloveliturgy.com. (And, for the record, that "a" in "Thealogical" is no accident.)