Preparing For The Arrival

Since September, we have been making a concerted effort to make it to church since Eddie is now three and able to go to Sunday School.

Up until now, it has been Cort going to church with Eddie, and I have been staying home since our church starts at 10am and that is smack in the middle of Charlie’s morning nap; and we all know…you DON’T mess with nap.

But lately, Charlie has been sleeping in on the weekends and taking his morning nap late.

Because today was the first Sunday of Advent, and I had been craving to be in church for Advent, I decided Charlie and I would join the other boys today.

Advent.

The preparation of the arrival of Christ.

It’s so exciting this year.

I think it’s because Eddie is old enough now that we can talk about what Christmas is and what it means and I can share with him why it makes me so happy.

I have been absolutely bursting to share stories of my childhood and giving and sharing with others and Jesus’ birth and God’s love for us with my son.

Saturday Eddie and I went Christmas shopping together for the first time ever.  We started with donuts at the bakery and then we window shopped and discussed what Grandma and Grandpa and Granny and Grandpa Ray and Charlie would love.

We stopped at the library and saw the train show.

We bought gifts for people we love and I asked him why we give presents.  He said, “when it’s someone’s birthday.”

So I asked him, “well how come we all get presents on Christmas?  It’s not OUR birthday.”

“I don’t know, Mom. Why?”

“Well, it’s Jesus’ birthday.”

“But Jesus can’t get presents. He’s in heaven with my Papa and God and Louis.”

“I know. Jesus WAS the present.  God gave him to us.  So to remember, we give everyone we love presents.  What do you think of that?”

“I like it because I like trains and presents.”

Later I told him we were going to pick out two presents for a boy and a girl who otherwise wouldn’t get presents at Christmas (we donate to Toys for Tots…I wasn’t going to try to explain that some people don’t celebrate Christmas. I’ll leave that for another year. I can’t do ALL the teaching in one year, ya know. Raising enlightened children takes time, yo).

“Why won’t they get any presents?  Were thems naughty?”

“No, bud. They were good.  But there are some parents who don’t have money, so even though their kids were good, they can’t get any presents.”

“But we have money.”

“We have some.  Enough to buy two presents.”

“I will pick them.  For a boy and a girl.  We will get thems presents for Christmas. And Santa will bring them. And then God will give us Jesus, right mom?”

“Right, bud.”

We bought an Advent calendar this year.

While I think they are cute, I really didn’t want one that involved the boys (ok, Eddie since Charlie is too little) getting something each day.  To me, that is not what Advent is about. It just becomes a countdown to Christmas when they get the big gifts.

I wanted something that reminded us of what we are celebrating.  What Advent is…preparing for the coming of Christ.

(And for those of you who are wondering, Cort had that kind growing up, but we didn’t do one at all.  We didn’t have much of a discussion over the Advent calendar other than I said I wanted to start the tradition and he was like, “do it up, Babe.” and so I did).

So we bought one with cards and verses.

It is 28 cards and the verses align with what I am reading for my Advent Devotional Plan with #SheReadsTruth. The first six days we read about the fall of mankind…the reason we need Jesus in the first place.

I decided that since Eddie is only three, instead of reading all 15 verses on night, we would read verses 1-3 the first night, and two more verses each night until we get through all 15.  You know, break it up.

Honestly, I had no idea how it would go.

The first night we sat together before dinner, I took the first card down and read these words:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”

I asked Eddie if he knew what a “serpent” was.  He did not. So I told him it was a snake. And I read it again with the word “snake”.

I asked him if he thought the snake was a good friend.  He said no and then he asked me why the snake was so “crafty”.

He had noticed that word!  He had been listening!

We talked about people who try to trick us and how that is being “crafty”. It was decided that people who try to trick us are not good friends.

Tonight at dinner I asked him if he remembered what we read last night. And he said a snake was trying to trick a girl.

Yes! He remembered!

So then I read,

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

I asked Eddie if the snake was right or if the lady should listen to God.  He said she should listen to God. I asked why. He said because the snake is naughty.

We talked about why it’s important to listen to our dad’s and mom’s.  Why obeying is important.

Then I asked him to guess what would happen next in the story (yes, I am an English teacher, why do you ask?).

He said she would NOT eat it because the snake is naughty.

So tomorrow he will be let down, but we will keep talking about it.

Because we are preparing for Jesus.  For the miracle that is God’s Grace and God’s Love.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl…wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Great post Kate!

  2. I love this. I wish I had something like this when I was a child. At 43 I am still learning and trying my best to get it right, knowing that I fall short every day. I worry that sometimes I have been so short that Grace isn’t enough. I know it is but it is a thought that hits my mind and leaves me terrified. Old wounds and words can carry long into adulthood I am learning slowly day by day. I love his curiosity about it all and how you are teaching him on a level he can understand.

  3. What a great tradition! I think God is really going to bless your sweet family during this practice this year 🙂

  4. So I have to ask, did you try to find out why he thought the snake was naughty? From Eve’s point of view, there was no reason to not believe the snake. No one said, hey there are people that will try to use you to get what they want or trick you into doing something you don’t want to do.

    I think it’s important for Eddie to know that Eve wasn’t knowingly being bad. She thought the snake was being helpful and was misdirected.

    An analogy would be when a teacher says you can use any color marker except blue. And the new kid says “Here, use blue. The teacher will think you’re cool for wanting to be like her, because she’s the only one that uses blue.”

    It doesn’t make what Eve did right, but it does show that she was being taken advantage of. Of course, you’ll need to explain why the snake wanted Eve to do something she wasn’t supposed to do in the first place.

    • I’m pretty sure when he learned that “crafty” meant “tricky” he associated that with being naughty based on characters and such in stories and on TV that he has seen.

      However, we do talk about how behavior is naughty, but people can be good. So yes, that is actually part of our beliefs with parenting.

      Because he brought up listening, we went with that. I don’t think 3 is the age we will be discussing conscious disobedience vs unconscious disobedience. Right now he is learning we listen to our parents above what others tell us. Maybe in the next few years when we re-read this we can explore other lessons. But 3 is a bit young for analogies and deep thoughts about doing something wrong when you thought it was Ok (also I don’t think the same kind of thing is possible today. Eve did what the snake said because she had no reason to think he would lie. There weren’t lies in her world. In our world, we know better. We know if our dad tells us no, but a “crafty” friend says to do it? We still shouldn’t do it. And the snake wasn’t the “new” kid. He was tempting her on purpose…to get her in trouble. He wasn’t being helpful.)

  5. We just went through this with Chunky. I find it very awkward. He keeps saying that Jesus is dead…cracks me up.
    But we did buy gifts for those kids in need. It was so rewarding watching Chunky pick out things and saying “I make a boy like me happy” … swoon

    • Eddie is sort of obsessed with death right now too. He got this Bible from church and he found the crucifixion story with a picture of Jesus on the cross. He keeps turning to it and being sad about, but he is like OBSESSED with turning to that page. It’s such a Debbie Downer of a stage…he is starting to figure out going to Heaven with Jesus means died. So he just this weekend realized that our cat DIED. Ugg.

  6. I love this. Eddie is at such a wonderful age, when you can start to really dig into these stories and truths and see him understanding and learning. Your Advent calendar cards are really cute.

  7. I have happy tears…how wonderful to read that there are other parents out there teaching their kids about Christ and the reason for the season.

    Merry Christmas!
    MM

  8. Thank you for reminding me what this season is all about.

  9. I love this post, love that to your family Christmas is so much about giving. And? I did my Advent cards the same way. 🙂

  10. agh! I kept trying to comment from my phone and it was eaten by the internet monster every time.

    I love everything about this post – I love the way you write and tell stories.

    I got chills the first time i read it, the second time – and now i did again.

    xoxo
    K