As with anything that children do, it is in turn both hugely exciting and very cute whilst also being intensely irritating! Constant questions of 'how many days?' can grate but I also remember too, as a child, just how much I wanted Christmas to just HURRY UP AND GET HERE!
So, we try and channel it a bit - with a mix of fun activities each day so it's about the preparation, the waiting and the countdown which builds to something, something which we know is great but is after all, just a day. It's more about how this Advent is going to make a difference in the rest of our days to follow.
The beauty of many of the Advent traditions we've employed over the years is that they allow us to constructively countdown. Tonight we had our usual evening meal and then had some family time with lighting the Advent candles, opening the calendars and reading a Christmas book - of which we have a box full! Other days will include some other treats, 1;1 time with each parent, opportunities to bless others in our community and creative prayer activities. I'm looking forward to them all, despite the sometimes irritating overexcited craziness!
I'm struck by the connections between yesterday's word WATCH and today's COUNTDOWN. Jesus is pretty clear, at the end of the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25, and elsewhere in the Gospels that we should “keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."
I wonder if we really understood these two contrasting but connected parts of Advent, we'd be so excited about the second coming?! We're caught in the tension between the certainty of Christmas Day being celebrated on 25th December and the uncertainty of much else that is promised to us in faith and which is foretold in the Scriptures. And in this current climate of wars and rumours of wars, that uncertainty requires us to look inwards to our own souls as followers of Jesus as well as to our communities and our neighbours and be generous with this good news of Jesus' coming.
Would love to know your reflections on this word and how it relates to you!