What is an advent calendar? I don’t really know, as my entire life I’ve never had one. So what, at 66 years old why not do something different AND meaningful starting December 1st? Back in August, my good friend Mark from the Midwest came to Albuquerque and I surprised him with a white water rafting trip. Four years before I went and all that time had been hoping for us to be in the same place at the same time to go. With friends, what is four years? Our adventure took place just south of the well known area of Taos, New Mexico. Not a place where you would expect to find material for an advent calendar.  Mark and I went up to Taos to have something to eat and just tour Taos a bit. Off the square was a quilter’s shop and in August it was stuffed with Christmas designs and patterns.  I found the material in their back room and just could not pass up getting it.

The material went into a plastic container that was shipped from Joplin, Missouri to Miami, Florida by truck and then from Florida onto a boat that came down to Guatemala. Months later I picked up three pieces from an office in Guatemala City that had been shipped down, so it had quite a journey to get here.  In late November I showed it to Telma, one of my Guatemalan daughters. She has a sewing machine I purchased for her a few years back and she keeps it at my house.  I went to the website of the original designer of the fabric in England and for the life of me, could not decipher the instructions and they were in English.

I told Telma to think about it as we were trying several ideas without cutting and then left it in her capable hands. YES by the 1st we had a great design AND the framing material around the calendar and the backing is from Africa as I carried down some fabric that I purchased there this year.  It really is a perfect fit.

What we started was just to read a portion of scripture that is part of the history surrounding Christ’s birth, and turn over the day to expose a small illustration. Yes, one day Karla, my 17 year old Guatemalan daughter and I even read and discussed the genealogy recorded in Matthew.  Most days it is Billy, 9 years old and Olga Lorena 11. They have learned so much AND of course I have too, glory to God!   What we think we know can be magnified when time is taken to discuss, give background, allow The Word to come alive. I discovered one short verse that I THOUGHT had been pinned by Paul, was actually spoken by an angel.   A great surprise and in counseling the next day , was able to open up our spanish / English Precious Moments Bible to encourage someone who was starting to doubt their ability. In the magnificent God style, He used this verse and after group prayer within one hour He showed how nothing IS impossible for Him!!

So we have had no presents or candies in connection with our Advent Calendar, but it has been a rich daily observance to focus on Messiah.  We will turn the last one on December 25th as my Guatemalan families gather here for a meal, presents, memory making.  The children have learned and will recite in both spanish and English, “Glory to God in the Highest, And on earth peace, goodwill to men”!  Make your time with family and friends focused on the True, Everlasting King Jesus entering as a baby in Bethlehem, Emmanuel, God with us!

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