I have been giving some thought to how to take a more spiritually-centered approach to the holiday season. I love Christmas and gift-giving as much as anyone else, but the emphasis on consumerism feels more hollow and stressful each year.
And I’ve think of those who are struggling financially, or in body, mind and spirit. The emphasis on more can be especially tough on people who are having to make do with less.
How can we find ways to give that offers a gift to both the receiver and giver?
My inspiration is the Advent calendar. The word advent means “coming into place, view, or being; arrival” and the period of Advent is traditionally for Christians a time of waiting, contemplation and prayer as we reflect on the coming of Christ into the world.
I love the idea of “coming into being.” For Christians, Jesus’s arrival heralded his coming into being as the Messiah, so we are also being called to come into being through the practices of love and compassion. But anyone can participate here, regardless of spiritual or religious beliefs. Loving your neighbor as yourself is a primary spiritual practice, and one that the world so desperately needs.
So, I’ve decided to create a virtual Advent calendar here on my blog. For this, I’m using the secular Advent calendar (for the 24 days leading up to Christmas) not the liturgical one. Each day of Advent, I will offer a different way to give, and I hope you will participate along with me. None of the giving ideas will require money, but do require your time, care and effort.
Feel free to share your experience or your creative suggestions on each post. If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, share using the #24daysofgiving hashtag. Let’s spread some love and good cheer!
May the hope, peace, joy and love of the coming Advent be with all of you.
(Image source: October Afternoon)