Savannah shamed me last night. Lent is the time for confession, and I can see no way of avoiding this and there’s no point in trying to make myself look good on the blog. Last night, as I closed the curtains in the lounge, Savannah asked, ‘Is it dark?’
‘Yes,’ I replied.
‘We don’t do Advent any more,’ she said a little sadly. ‘Not even the blue Advent.’
I felt a pain in my heart. I mean gut-wrenching experience. The background to this story is that we bought an Advent Calendar that a scene of Bethlehem, a package of stickers, and a devotional. Each day of December had a scripture verse, a devotion (too long for a 3-year old, but that was OK), and a sticker to place on the background scene. The devotion itself was mostly really good, but two or three days of appalling (e.g., the census was on obeying good laws – WHAT?). What captured Savannah’s imagination was the stickers – she loves stickers. But, here she could only do one a day and had to put it in the proper place. It was a learning experience for her. Then we would read her ‘red Advent‘ book (as she called it) – it was just a very short, simple reading around themes of Advent (almost all VERY excellent).
Savannah fell very easily into the rhythm and loved it so much that each day she would say, ‘I want to do Advent,’ or ask is it time. Our response came, ‘When it’s dark.’ This became our own Advent Afternoon Liturgy. I have no idea why we said this rather than after dinner or when mummy gets home. I guess the theme of darkness seemed to fit well with Advent. [That’s the story of why darkness connects to Savannah with Advent.] The week after the 30 days finished, April and I desperately tried to find something in the same vein (church publishers have A LOT on Advent – not so much the rest of the 11 months of the year). Whatever we tried was never as good as what she had experienced. We do have a Lent version of ‘red Advent’ (it’s purple, which sometimes Savannah confuses with ‘blue’, hence the ‘blue Advent’) that we started, but got crazy with visitors and simply dropped.
Now, my daughter is asking to do an evening prayer practice, and we have nothing. Have any of you found a good way to teach children the bible, but even more so, what pattern do you set to do it? At the moment, we generally reserve it for bed where we sing (generally short songs with ‘And Can It Be’ mixed in with Bob the Builder and Balamory and Baa Baa Black Sheep), a bible story from the children’s bible, and then prayers. But, Savannah connects this more to her bedtime ritual than any family prayer time. And April and I want to expand it. Any suggestions?