Make the Advent Season Meaningful for Your Kids... By Using the Force?Craig Yoshihara
While it’s true that the Christmas season is one of the biggest money-making times of the year for businesses, the real “bottom line” is that the holiday still belongs to each of us who celebrate it, and the spirit of Christmas is what we choose to make of it. It is of course possible to give in to the Dark Side of Christmas and feel compelled to buy the best toys for your children, while comparing the number of gifts you got last year with this year, and in the process run yourself ragged in an attempt to take advantage of every “doorbuster” sale that comes down the pike. But if you embrace the Light Side, you can find the bright blessing in the Advent season. You can bring out the meaning in things where they could easily get lost. You can find opportunities to teach and to share about the true nature of Christmas. And you can turn the commercialism of the season into a lesson about what is really important in life.
A great example — each year in our home during Advent, LEGO, Star Wars, and the anticipation of celebrating the birth of Christ all come together. That’s right I’m being completely serious — as it is now one of our ongoing traditions to celebrate the four weeks leading up to Christmas using a LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar. This year’s release is waiting in my closet to be opened on December 1! Is this the very commercialization of a religious holiday that people fear? It could be if I were to forget what the season is about. But I see it as a wonderful opportunity to share the meaning of Christmas through familiar figures and objects that my daughter understands.
The word “advent” is derived from the Latin adventus which means “coming.” Beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas, Christians the world over wait in hopeful anticipation for the celebration of the birth of Christ. It is both a celebration of his coming into the world, but also a celebration of the hope we have that someday Christ will return. So it seems appropriate that the waiting itself seems to take on special significance to so many of us. And that is a lesson you can emphasize no matter what kind of Advent calendar you use. I like to use the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar because I turn into as much of a kid as my daughter each day when we find out what special gift awaits us. Will it be a mini Bespin Cloud Car? A mini Naboo Cruiser? Or perhaps a special Star Wars character minifigure!
Commercial or not, with this one activity I get to share three different parts of my life with my daughter — my faith, my childhood, and my love for her. Waking up each day and watching Emma get excited about what surprise is coming out next and letting her arrange the toys in whatever creative ways she wants is the most fun part for me. Sharing that time together, even if it’s just a few moments, reminds me daily that the magic of Christmas does indeed lie in the hopeful anticipation we have for that one special day of the year. And the greatest gift we could get is the hope, joy, and promise of another day together.
LEGO® Star Wars Advent Calendar is available now in stores; Recommended for Ages 7+, contains 254 pieces. $39.99