St. Nicholas Day Revised

 My wife is gone all week at a science conference. It'll be a regular thing for the foreseeable future. This means we're revamping our St. Nicholas Day routine as she'll likely be gone this day every year. It works kind of well this year because we're doing a larger family gift instead of a gift on St. Nicholas Day and one on Christmas Day for each of them.

So, last night the boys decided to make cookies to give to neighbors. Unfortunately, we ran out of flour so we only made one batch of spritz cookies. Which made for no variety of cookies. (With my wife gone, I also wouldn't have had much time to make other cookies after they were in bed if we did have more flour.)

Today we bagged up the cookies. The boys made little cards to put in each bag that said "Happy St. Nicholas Day." They had wanted to do it anonymously, dropping off the cookies on their doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running. If we lived back in small town Iowa, we'd do that, but we thought we'd play it safe and let them know who the cookies were from and that they were safe to eat.

Advent is about slowing down and taking the time to reflect. It is the antithesis of the Christmas busyness and consumerism rampant in our society. Truthfully, with my wife gone, making cookies last night added to the busyness of the week. But Advent is also about looking outside ourselves, as well as within. And so we took the time to make some cookies (and the time afterward to clean up a messy kitchen). I think it's just as important to do something like that as it is to take the time to sit with our Advent devotions each night as a family.


We did revise one of the cards--Anders drew a Good Friday picture complete with blood dripping from Jesus' wounds. He had realized afterward that it might be the best picture to use with our neighbors...still, it's a good picture. And most of all, I'm proud that they are getting into the spirit, that they know that the giving is the more important than giving, and that Christ is the reason for it all.

They know that St. Nicholas isn't about reindeer, gift lists, and who's naughty and nice. They know he gave to those in need because of his love for God. They might have a little confusion about Santa Claus (mainly because of movies and Christmas specials), but over all they know that Christmas

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