The Advent Jar

December 15, 1997
by Ruth McCowan

Psalm 25:5 – Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.

Traditions are those things that we do which reinforce our family's personality and link us with our past and our future. We see these traditions when we come to celebrate Advent and Christmas. It is because of our traditions that we have such a rich inheritance to pass on to our children. Our house has been no exception and it's often through the voice of one of our children that reminds me that we haven't done something yet.

It is so easy to get caught up with all the hype and the fuss surrounding Christmas that we lose our focus on why we are celebrating. This is why the Advent Jar has become a very important tradition in our house. The Advent Jar is a pint jar with a cup of shelled sunflower seeds and seven walnuts. The sunflower seeds represent all the things we need to get done for the Christmas holidays – Christmas baking, gifts to be bought and wrapped, cards sent out, and the list goes on. The walnuts represent the Advent preparations we would like to include, like a birthday cake for Jesus, time together around the Advent wreath, making things that would tell the story of Jesus birth, and the list only needs your own imagination. The interesting thing about the Advent Jar is that if you put the sunflower seeds in first, you will soon discover that there isn't room for the walnuts, but if you put the walnuts in first and then pour the sunflower seeds in around the walnuts, they all fit in! Everything fits when we keep our priorities in the right place!

Having our Advent Jar around during the Advent Season reminds us what Christmas is about, and it helps us to join in with the psalmist to say that God is our Saviour and the waiting or hoping of Advent is the central to the Christmas message.

Prayer: Oh God, our Saviour, we give you thanks for the hope we have during this Advent Season. We thank you for the many traditions which help us to remember what is really important but most of all we thank you for the gift of Yourself in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

About the author:

Ruth McCowan <rbmccowan@shaw.ca>
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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