Advent Acts of Kindness: Teaching our Kids the True Meaning of Christmas

I love the Christmas season. I have many wonderful family memories from my childhood of traveling to my grandparents, eating delicious Christmas goodies and listening to Christmas music. And as my husband and I have grown our family, we’ve found it is important for us to create the same sort of memories and experiences for our own children.

But over the past few years, we’ve become increasingly concerned with our Christmas celebrations. Our children began to see Christmas as a season of “getting,” and spent time making lists of all the toys they’d like, talking about how much they want. We knew something needed to change.

So two years ago when my good friends suggested we join together for Advent Acts of Kindness — just like Random Acts of Kindness, but geared toward the weeks of Advent — I immediately jumped on board. We decided that we would take the 25 days leading up to Christmas to disciple our kids by taking turns doing a random act of kindness each day in our neighborhood, community, county or world. We would then post daily pictures of the things we were doing on our blog and Facebook page and ask others to join us.

Since we all have fairly young children, most of our activities were set up for them to take part in the giving, but you could be creative and tailor your acts to you and your family’s needs and capabilities. Some examples of things we did in our community included bringing cookies to all our neighbors, helping with a meal at a local homeless shelter and thanking our local police department for all their hard work. Nationally, we participated in Toys For Tots, sent an encouraging note with gifts to a girl battling cancer, and supported Project Night Light (now known as Project Ignite Light). Internationally, we supported organizations such as International Justice Mission and Compassion International and wrote letters to sick children through a wonderful organization called Post Pals.

By the end of the 25 days my children had shifted their focus off of their own needs and were thinking of ways to bless others. In fact, each morning they would ask: “What are we going to do today, mom?” They looked forward to and enjoyed giving as much as I did.

And after so much success the past two years, we’ve decided to do it again, inviting others to join us in shifting our focus off of the consumerism of Christmas and back to the true meaning: Jesus and showing his love to others.

Interested in joining us? There are no set guidelines you must follow — you can choose to participate daily, once a week, or just a few times during the month, whatever works for you and your family!

If you’d like more ideas on ways to bless others this Advent season, here are some helpful links:

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

 http://thumba-lea.blogspot.com/2011/10/28-acts-of-kindness.html

 http://www.jessicalynette.com/personal/random-acts-of-kindness/

http://www.itshueilove.com/2011/11/32-random-acts-of-kindness.html

If you want to see what my friends and I did for our AAK (Advent Acts of Kindness) last year, we summarized the entire adventure (pictures and everything!) here.

Kendra Egeland Roehl

Author Kendra Egeland Roehl

Kendra received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work and has worked for hospice programs, low-income housing, and the St. Cloud Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A mother of four, she and her husband are both foster and adoptive parents. She is a speaker and writer about topics such as marriage, motherhood, foster care, adoption, and social justice at The Ruth Experience.

More posts by Kendra Egeland Roehl

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