Last month, one of our young people had the amazing idea that instead of a traditional birthday party, they wanted to help set up treats on Sunday morning at church to honor their birth. It was a beautiful moment of service, alternative giving, and a wonderful way to mark another trip around the sun.
It was also an inspiring pre-Advent preview of what love looks like in this nostalgic season.
One of the traditions that we have adopted as a family is an Acts of Love Advent Calendar.
For us, each day is a motivational move to celebrate alternative ways that we can give and share the gift of God’s love for us in Jesus.
Last year, we surprised our neighbors by bringing in their trash bins. We also brought family hygiene kits to our local food shelf and sang Christmas carols with church at our local nursing home.
I’ll be honest, some days felt a little forced or like a chore. But every day was also rewarding because the gift of giving love never disappoints.
Ultimately, we remember that God is our great giver, but not just in the stuff that we share from Amazon under the tree.
It’s also in the myriad ways that share incarnational and invitational love with our brothers and sisters and siblings and neighbors—person-to-person, new birth to new birth, day by day.
God’s gift to us in Jesus is a birthday invite into this amazing selfless, service giving.
It’s still what love looks like.