The calendar page had turned. The days are getting shorter, darker and colder. The church calendar has changed as well. We are at the beginning of a new year. The gospel readings have moved from Mark (which my middle schooler refers to as the gossip gospel because Mark constantly refers to Jesus secret and then proceeds to tell us all about it.) Now we are listening to Luke, with his constant reference to all the outsiders, women and children, foreigners and the poor. New Year, new readings, and time for a change, it is Advent. The time for a change, for preparation, we are getting ready for the coming of Christ. While you are getting ready for Christmas, buying presents, and decorating your home, and celebrating with friends and family, put aside some time for some other activities. Here are a couple you might consider. There is something for everyone!
1) Do a secret act of kindness for someone in your house that will make the next day easier for them. (Pick up the toys of your brother or sister, do the dishes without being asked, make a picture and hide in under a pillow)
2) Smile at everyone you meet today, store clerks, toll takers, crossing guards, teachers, teenagers and little kids. (Preschoolers might enjoy counting the number of smiles they get in return.)
3) Learn the words to "Joy to the World" or other Christmas carol. See who can sing it the loudest!
4) Bake a special treat from your family's heritage or from a place you are interested in. Find that country on the map and learn how to say "Merry Christmas" in that language.
5) Take a walk after dark and see how nature has changed with the seasons.
6) Write a family prayer to say when you light your Advent wreath. Say it every night.
7) Create a gift basket with ingredients for one of your family's favorite recipes. Write up the recipe and give the basket to Goffstown Network food pantry. Have the whole family work on a recipe that would work.