Welcome to the final month of the year and to a Season of Advent. In the Christian church year, Advent includes the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Part of our heritage as Unitarian Universalists has its roots in Christianity. The word “advent” comes from the Latin, “advenire,” meaning “to come” or “adventus” meaning arrival. In some churches, a candle is lit each of the four Sundays of December to represent the virtues of hope (the Prophecy Candle), faith (the Bethlehem Candle), joy (the Shepherd’s Candle), and peace (the Angel’s Candle). Some Christians fast during Advent and use the season to prepare for Christmas and to remind them of the “real” meaning of that day.
While most UU’s don’t observe Advent, we do recognize the very commercialized focus of the holiday season, and it doesn’t hurt to take time each day to turn our focus inward and contemplate deeper meanings as the world beckons us to shop, spend, and consume.
What in your life do you wish to prepare for this Season of Advent?
The question, “Are you ready for Christmas?”, takes on new meaning if we are contemplating the arrival of something holy. Whether you are celebrating the birth of a prophet or the arrival of friends and family for a holiday feast, this Advent Calendar of Good Deeds offers ways to shift our focus to hope, love, joy, and peace as we offer blessings to those around us. I offer the following ideas leading up to the arrival of Christmas Day.
1. Send a kind note to someone at church.
2. Deliver coloring books and new crayons to the children’s wing of a hospital.
3. Take a homemade treat to your neighbor or to a local fire station.
4. Leave an extra big tip for a server.
5. Make a care package or send a letter to a deployed soldier.
6. Make care packs for homeless to keep in your car (water, snacks, easy open canned food, gloves, socks, etc.)
7. If you have children, send a note of gratitude to one of their teachers (or send a note of gratitude to someone you appreciate).
8. Invite someone to lunch or dinner.
9. Take pet food and old towels to your local animal shelter.
10. Be the one to shift a negative conversation into something positive.
11. Leave an anonymous friendly note where someone will find it.
12. Make a bird feeder (or just provide some seed for our feathered friends)
13. Plant some trees.
14. Offer someone a compliment not related to their physical appearance.
15. Write or decorate holiday cards to send in the mail.
16. Take some gift cards to a local organization you support (e.g., Time Out Youth)
17. Offer to run an errand for someone who needs help.
18. Knit or buy a scarf for someone who is homeless or in a shelter.
19. Leave a treat in the mailbox for your postal carrier.
20. Clean up litter.
21. Send flowers.
22. Send a card to a staff member.
23. Take gifts of cards and candy or soft warm socks and gently used books to a nursing home.
24. Set aside extra food for the food drive.
25. Call a relative or friend just to say hello.
Blessings to you during this Season of Advent! It has been my honor to serve alongside you in 2019.
Walk in Love,
~Rev. Mary Frances