An extremely rare occurrence is on my calendar for this week. I get to have lunch with my dear friend, Lindsay. Our friendship extends over a decade, but due to the busyness of life, we have not connected in a while. I want to make the most of our time together. As ridiculous as it may appear, I am deeply considering making conversation cards to assure our conversation is filled with as much intention as possible.
As an extreme extrovert, I struggle to be a good listener at times, and I don’t want this to be the case at this meal. Now while this idea might read as lame, cheesy, or unnecessary-hear me out. I desire and expect something meaningful to occur at this lunch (once again-this is a very uncommon event). A life-giving, spirit-boosting time for both of us is needed. With this said, I cannot simply show up. Even though merely showing up would lead to a pleasant experience, I would feel like I missed an opportunity in not being as intentional as possible.
The same is true for our children during Advent and Christmas. Every moment is bursting at the seams with potential to discover the holy in “Holy-day”. During the hustle and bustle, why not count on the many symbols of the season as conversation cue cards for you and your children? Whether passing the giant Christmas tree downtown, or eating Gingerbread Men during fellowship time, a sacred conversation awaits! Plus-it gives a great visual for the child to learn alongside you. #multisensorylearning
- Evergreen Tree: Did you know these trees are always green-despite the season? The same is true for our friendship with Jesus; for it is eternal. This means He is always with us,regardless of the season and even after a person passes away-he/she will live with Jesus forever.
- Wreath: See how this circle never ends? It just keeps going and going. God’s love for his children is the same. No matter what choices may be made, nothing can stop this unending love.
- Candles: Check out the flame on the candle. Do you think fire is safe and comfortable or powerful and fearsome? Both are true to God’s nature. In the Bible fire is a symbol of God’s presence. Remember Moses and the burning bush? Do you recall the cool flames on Jesus’ friends heads at Pentecost?
- Wrapped Gifts: What gift would you have taken to baby Jesus? What gifts could the poor shepherds have brought him when he was born? What gifts did the wealthy magis/wise men bring him?
- Star: Would you have been able to find your way to the manger by just following the east star? Have you heard the one about God’s promise to Abraham?
- Candy Cane: The shape of this yummy candy is like a shepherd’s staff. What Shepherds do you know in the Bible? Moses, David, and Jesus talks about God caring for us like a shepherd cares for his sheep.
- Gingerbread (hu)man Cookies: This cookie reminds me of how very much God wanted to be close to his children again that he became one of us-he became human in Jesus. Emmanuel means ‘God with us’. Did you know Jesus was both fully human and fully divine? In “christianese” we call this, “God incarnate”. This is one of the biggest mysteries of our faith.
- Christmas Day Treats: This pecan pie is so decadent and this turkey could not be more savory. What do you taste in each bite? Can you tell what ingredients Grandma used? This reminds me of a Bible verse where we “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Listen to your stomach. Is it telling you you are full? If so, is there someone with whom you think we could share the rest of our meal.
- Nativity Scene: Retell the story up to this point. In what ways were Mary brave? How was Joseph Brave? Do you think Baby Jesus felt loved and safe in Mary’s arms? Who all came to see Jesus when he was born? What do you think each of them said to Mary and Joseph? Were poor and rich people present when he was born?
- Mistletoe: Mistletoe gives us silly reminders to share a loving kiss whenever we pass under it. Is there someone that is really hard for you to like/love? Anyone that annoys you? Whenever you see mistletoe, say a prayer for this person and God will slowly change your heart. They may not become your “bestie”, but you will be able to be around them with much more peace.