Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Advent #8

Advent Parties!

Other instances have seen tangible ways for our children to share the gospel over the years.

For many years excitement began to grow during Advent as our children created artsy invitations for friends and neighbors to join in our Advent parties.

Yes, Advent parties!

We hosted one for the boys and then another for the girls each year, for many years, separately because there were so many children who were thrilled to come and join the party.

Children arrived with childlike enthusiasm, all dressed up and looking lovely, eagerly anticipating what would happen every new year at such a family function as this one was known to produce.

Always on the agenda was a show and tell of the Christmas story using small figures of some sort, using a script the children each memorized over the course of the weeks beforehand from the Bible, all on their own.

We played several homemade family games for the occasion, passed around instruments to sing Advent and Christmas songs, read stories using other manipulatives (story of the candy cane, etc..), and one year our (then 9 year old) daughter used our piano bench for her makeshift stage and shared the story of the nativity with all before her, stunning even me to bits with her beautiful narration from scripture memory.

Catching it live on tape, I love watching her retelling it and witnessing her confidence to share with neighbors who became absorbed greatly in her story telling abilities. It was so precious. I'll never forget that one year, not ever.

The afternoon's events always ended with a variation of sorts, making gingerbread "creches" scenes to take home with them at the end. A definite highlight for everyone, but then so were many other things each year included on the afternoon agenda.

As each child sat around the extended table working busily with their whimsical and very unique stable's decor, all those barn raisings in preparation for the holy family's entry, each donned protective clothing, and all continually chatted about the rest of the day together.

Always a highlight in the neighborhood and friends from our general locale, everyone wondered if it would be a repeat performance the following year. And there were repeats with gentle variations for quite some time.

Our family loves to watch all of our old movies from these special times in our home and the younger children are hoping in time, they too will meet plenty of children here in this new area to share this message with next year.

It's especially fun and so very heartwarming to view each of the youngsters filmed individually at the end of our parties, each freely offering explanations for their creches and why they chose the theme frame work and decor as they did.

As many of those children are now adults we still continue to keep in touch with them, and with our precious family films, it is so sweet to view them as the little ones they once were, so dear to all of us still today.

Happy Advent