Advent: a Time for Charity

I love the church seasons.  I love that Christmas is twelve days of feasting.  I love that Advent and Lent are long enough for some contemplation and habit-forming.

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We like to focus charity during Advent.  The scriptures of the season certainly support this: Isaiah 61, Luke 3, Matthew 11, Luke 1:46-55.  And our family needs more than just a day here or there to build a new habit.  Advent is long enough that we can spend time daily thinking about the poor both far and near, and how we are called to serve them in love.

Specifics in how we flesh that out have included many things (never all in one year):

  • reading about St Nicholas’s acts of charity
  • giving the children a budget to spend from the World Vision (or Samaritan’s Purse, or World Relief) gift catalogs
  • helping them choose some of their more gently used toys and clothes to donate to a shelter
  • participating in a coat drive or food drive
  • sponsoring a family for a holiday meal
  • Operation Christmas Child, or giving gifts through Angel Tree
  • baking cookies to give to our neighbors
  • shoveling snow for our neighbors
  • giving the money from our Kindness Jar (where we put loose change, allowances, fines I levy for unkind acts, bonuses I pay into the jar when I see unexpected acts of kindness between the children) to a charity of the children’s choice
  • a discipline of daily prayer specifically for the needs of a group– Karen refugees from Burma, for example– or friend who is sick

At the end of Advent, some of these habits have continued– have penetrated our hearts in a new way.  In way that brings God with us.  Emmanuel.  Isn’t that what we’re waiting for?

Find more posts on Keeping Advent at Kerry’s Blog, A Ten O’Clock Scholar.

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5 thoughts on “Advent: a Time for Charity

  1. This was beautiful. Thank you for all these lovely ideas. It can be so hard to focus on other people during this time of hustle/bustle. At least, it’s something I struggle with.

  2. Annie, I am finally getting my blogroll back together and am so glad to see you are at WordPress now! It was kind of a hassle to comment on HomeschoolBlogger.

    I love your Advent emphasis on charity; I lean that way too in thought, but not always in deed or in deeds that my kids can see. Your list has great ideas!

    ~Jeanne

  3. Pingback: Ready, Set, Advent! « Learning As We Go

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