I can remember special “Christmas” calendars with little windows I opened everyday from December 1 to December 24 with little “treats” or messages behind each window. Each day there was an excitement building to open the next window on the way to Christmas morning. This year I’d like to challenge us to a different kind of preparation for Christmas. Each day from December 1 to December 24, I want us to set aside a canned good or bag of rice/dried beans to give away at Christmas to someone who is in need.
As a way to prepare for this celebration, I want you to begin by finding a box and decorating it specially with a Christmas/Jesus/Love theme. Share a picture or video of your box decoration on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #ChristmasChallenge (if you tweet it, be sure to mention @sjumc_nova). Everyday beginning December 1, add one item to the box. I have made a calendar for you to use with each day if you like. (Download the adventcalendar2016-monthly) Make this a spiritual experience and everyone can participate; set aside a time each day to place food in your box with others in your household. You can make it a time to pray for your neighbors and those who will receive this food. We will be collecting the boxes on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at Saint James but if you’ll be gone, you can either turn it in early or when you get back! We will be displaying the boxes through the entire 12 Days of Christmas. We will be giving all the food collected to West End Food Pantry and ALIVE after Christmas.
Some people already asked me, “But I don’t live near Saint James. How can I participate?” All of us live in areas that have food banks and food collection spots; give your food box to a local group. This doesn’t have to be a “Saint James thing,” just a “loving our neighbor” kind of thing. Because in the end, that’s what Christmas is all about anyway.