We started celebrating Christmas a little earlier than usual this year.
In fact, I attended my first Christmas party of the season a week before Thanksgiving! Normally, this is something that purists like my dear husband would be very opposed to, but he made an exception for this particular gathering.
As you may or may not know, Advent is the anticipation and celebration of God sending His son to earth. Many of you may have advent calendars, counting down the days until Christmas day. We believe that Christmas is not just about December 25th (though it is a marvelous day!), but we can spend the season reflecting on the things God has done in history leading up to the birth of Jesus.
All that to say, I went to an Advent party last month to assemble what's called a Jesse Tree. It's a bit complicated to explain, but in a nutshell, 25 people are each assigned one day of advent. Each of those people crafts 25 ornaments representing the symbol for the readings of that day (for example, a globe for the first day of advent representing creation, or an apple with a snake on it for the second day representing the fall of man). 25 people assemble, each with 25 of the same ornament, and then begins the swap. We eat, we enjoy each other's company, we exchange, and we each go home with 25 different ornaments. Good stuff!
So, that's what we did. I was in charge of making 25 little brick wall ornaments which I craftily assembled with Sculpey. Ryan and I purchased a little christmas tree for on top of Oliver's dresser and each night at bedtime we have been bringing out one ornament for him to hang on the tree, while telling him a 2-year-old's version of what it represents: "Oliver, who made the world?" "God!", "Oliver, what animal tempted Adam and Eve?" "Snake!" You get the picture. Wednesday night we talked about the ark that Noah obeyed God and built. And Oliver will be quick to inform anyone that asks that the animals came "TWO! by TWO!"
Fast-forward to this morning.
Oliver wanted to watch a cartoon, and since I was busy crocheting a winter hat for him, I was agreeable with the idea. I told him he could watch for a while and that I would turn it on once he picked up all his cars on the floor and put them away. He cooperated initially, but began to grumble and get distracted, eventually asking me for a diaper change.
I took him to his room, and while I was finishing up and he was still laying on the changing table he looked over at the tree on his dresser and said, "Noah! Obey!" It took me a second to understand what he was saying, but sure enough he was pointing to the ark and said again, "Noah! Obey!"
I affirmed what he was saying and brought him back into the playroom to finish picking up the cars (he thinks he can distract me, but I'm no fool!) To my great pleasure, Oliver sat down right next to his cars and said one last time, "Noah. Obey." and proceeded to put the cars in the bin like I'd asked.
I know he's only two, and understands everything on such a basic level. But, God works in little hearts just as he does in big ones. Our sweet friends Christine & Steve are celebrating Advent this year with their three children under the age of two. Let us not limit the power of Christ and His work in the hearts of our little ones!
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
Post Script: For the record, since I've begun this post, Oliver had chosen NOT to obey multiple times. Our parenting, and more importantly, God's work in his life is FAR from complete. Thank you Lord that you are faithful not to leave us where we are!
Post Post Script: If you'd like to see the article that was written about our Advent Party in the Williamson Herald, please click here.