Yesterday marked Lily’s favorite day of Advent, because we finally lit the pink candle! She has been waiting all of two weeks for this event. She loves pink, and I love this week, too, because in the midst of a penitential season, we get to get excited for the coming of Jesus! The pink candle is for Gaudete, which means a time to rejoice!
It’s also time to get serious about preparing for the coming of Jesus. For Timothy, who’s 4, this is hard. He counts down the days until Christmas, we light the Advent Wreath, we talk about Jesus. And he knows Christmas is supposed to be about Jesus, but all he really wants to do is talk about presents. He already has wrapped many of his own toys and put them under the tree because he is so excited about presents.
In fact, last night, he was complaining about not wanting to eat dinner. Then, all on his own, he motivated himself to eat by telling himself if he ate his dinner then he could open a present under the tree. A present that he wrapped himself, of a toy he already owned. But he ate his dinner!
As parents, we must try to stay focused on the reason for the season. I know many parents do sacrifice beads, or have their kids put straw in the manger when they do good deeds to make a nice soft bed for Jesus. But straw just doesn’t seem that soft to me, and making a bed for Jesus hasn’t been all that exciting of an idea for Timothy.
So, enter presents. We have a video called, “The best present of all is Jesus.” And a book that says we give presents to each other because it’s Jesus’ birthday, and he gave us the gift of himself. And the Magi brought presents for Jesus. And my favorite Veggie Tales of all time, “The Toy that Saved Christmas,” talks about how Christmas isn’t about getting, but about giving. So what can we give to Jesus at Christmas? Timothy thinks He would like a train. And He probably would, right? But what else can we give? We can give our hearts.
Back in high school, I wanted a practical way to give my heart to Jesus as a present. So I cut out a bunch of hearts, and every time I did something good or avoided something bad to love Jesus, I put a heart in a little present box. Then, by Christmas, I had a box full of hearts for him. Since we would get to Mass early, I stopped in the chapel and offered my box of hearts to him. I did this several advents, unbeknownst to anyone else. But now, I would like to share my idea with you, as in these last two weeks of Christmas it could be a great way for you, your children, or your whole family to really get ready for the coming of Jesus by preparing your hearts as a present to Him.
We started yesterday, but Timothy seems pretty excited about it!: