Many of us will remember from childhood Advent Calendars that were focused solely on the Nativity Story, opening a window to an angel, a shepherd or a star in the run up to Christmas. It added to the excitement as December progressed and built up a picture of the true Christian meaning of the season.
And then there came a different type of Advent Calendar when each window, for the days of December, had behind it a picture or item unrelated to the Christian meaning of Advent.
Recently, a new take on the Advent Calendar has been introduced in some places: the calendar that gives something back. The idea is that instead of opening the door to a picture or a chocolate, you do the giving. People put aside a food item each day of Advent making up a gift to give to a food bank charity or a needy person. Besides edible donations, people have been collecting toys, clothes, toiletries and other items that might be helpful to someone in need. This emphasis on giving leads us back to God and the giving of his son, Jesus, to the world. The beautiful gift of the birth of the baby in Bethlehem, in the humblest of circumstances, is God’s gift to you and to the world. May our giving this Advent reflect the Love of God shown to us in Jesus our Saviour. (written by Fr. John for the Alston Churches leaflet)