Archives: Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? #11
A Simpler Season
A Calendar Through Advent to Epiphany
Choose a cause or organization to support with money you collect while using this calendar. Decorate a can to hold the money. View this money not as a penalty or a fine but as an aid to our need to help others. Offer the money on Epiphany, the day the Three Wise Ones offered their gifts to Jesus. It corresponds to liturgical Cycle A (Matthew).
Go through the calendar with at least one Advent Partner, face-to-face or by phone. A partner could be a friend or someone you've wanted to get to know better, someone for support. And if a partner is a child, an adult can help teach and serve as a role model. Adults, give $1 for each day you read the calendar without your Advent Partner.
Oct. 1 or Nov. 1 - Talk early about expectations. What do each of us really want at Christmas? Who is going to do what. What is really most meaningful? Are we willing to spent less on ourselves and give more to the needy? Write down and post decisions.
Nov. 26 - Thanksgiving Day (USA): We can celebrate and show gratitude without gluttony. God's generosity does not invite us to waste food or to overindulge.
27 - "I Shop, Therefore I Am" or "Shop Till You Drop" bumper stickers are signs of the addiction of overconsumption. Participate in International Buy Nothing Day on this, the biggest shopping day of the year.
28 - Advent Eve: When you and your children do a good deed each day, place a small piece of yarn in your creche's manger. By Christmas Eve the baby Jesus will have a soft bed to sleep on.
29: Advent I - Read & meditate on Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24: 36-44. Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?"
30 - If you put your tree up before Christmas Eve, leave it bare for a time (at least several days) before starting to decorate it. Then add one decoration per day.
December 1 - "Learn from the World Community" and "Non-conform Freely" are two Life Principles of Voluntary Simplicity. Wear some Third World clothing and jewelry at least once a week, even to church.
2 - At church, wear a piece of Third World clothing instead of choir robes, especially when singing music from Africa and Latin America.
3 - If you feel compelled to participate in neighborhood lighting and decorating, highlight an empty manger with white lights. Add Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the shepherds and angels Christmas Eve. Add the three Kings closer to Epiphany.
4 - Other "non-conform freely" decorations - "No Santas" sign (Santa's face in a red circle with a diagonal line through it), or Santa kneeling at the manger, or a sign such as "Jesus Is the Reason for the Season."
5 - Sort tree decorations while you're putting the tree UP, not when you take it down. Make sure that unwanted items leave the house. Give them as gifts or rewards. Do not replace them.
6: Advent II - Read & meditate on Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12. Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?"
7 - Participate in Fair Trade. Be wary of profit-oriented Third World mail order firms. Order from SERRV, 10,000 Villages or your local volunteer-oriented Third World Shop.
8 - Start a family service tradition - caroling, or making bread or gingerbread houses for the lonely, or serving at the soup kitchen.
9 - Instead of buying gifts for friends, invite them to a potluck or a "Dutch" dinner at a restaurant. Being together is more important than getting and giving more stuff.
10 - Wear "Christmas" clothing - bulb earrings, sweaters, ties, socks, etc. with symbols, such as trees, bells, sleighs, etc. - no more than once a week during December before Christmas. Wear other special, non-seasonal clothes and accessories to feel festive.
11 - Keep children to their regular schedule before Christmas, no additional late bedtimes, for example.
12 - Don't play Christmas music all the time. It can stress children, remind them of "the wait." Instead, play restful instrumental music to calm them.
13: Advent III - Read & meditate on Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 1:47-55; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11: 2-11. Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?"
14 - "God loves the White man." -Kenyan, 1995. Because of their wealth and power, North Americans are thought to be more favored by God. We people of privilege can change this perception by changing the reality, changing ourselves, starting with our overconsumption.
15 - Care for all God's Creation. Sign a petition to ban jet skis. They are dangerous and highly polluting.
16 - Pollination depends on bees. Frogs and toads control mosquitoes and other insects. The bee, frog and toad populations in North American are shrinking due to use of pesticides and toxins. More water pollution is caused by run-off from agriculture and homes than from industry. (continued)
17 - We CAN do something about water pollution. Stop using toxins on lawns. Never pour oil or antifreeze into a sewer. Dispose of paints and batteries at a local toxic waste clean-up day.
18 - Beware of "tokenism," such as a token black in a highly visible position or a token woman on a board of directors. Tokenism tends to make us think that things are OK in a situation where they're not.
19 - Bake double. Give the extra batch to someone having a hard time - recently widowed, suddenly empty-nesting...
20: Advent IV - Read & meditate on Isaiah 7:10-16; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25. Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?"
21 - The next time you see a two page car ad in a magazine - where the side of the car stretches across both pages - fold the two pages in half. Then bring the two creases together so you see the front and back of the car squished together. Have a good laugh. We're getting a lot less than we're being sold.
22 - Protest advertising in public restrooms. It may appear clever at first but not after that. This modern graffiti is as offensive as traditional restroom scrawl.
23 -Beware of radio talk show hosts - entertainers posing as social commentators - who inflame prejudice with misinformation and slander. Write letters of complaint to the network or local station (not to the entertainers, who thrive on complaints). Speak up when others applaud such negative opinions.
24: Christmas Eve - Read & meditate on Isaiah 9:2-7; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14 (15-20). Share the reflection and responsive reading for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?"
25: Christmas Day - Read & meditate at dawn on Isaiah 62:6-12; Psalm 97; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2: (1-7) 8-20. Later in the day read & meditate on Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12); John 1:1-14.
26 - Consider celebrating the African-American tradition of Kwaanza (Dec. 26th-Jan.1) to emphasize community and family, regardless of your race.
27: Christmas I - Read & meditate on Isaiah 63:7-9; Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2:13-23. Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?"
28: The Holy Innocents - Read & meditate on Jeremiah 31: 15-17; 1 Peter: 4:12-19; Matthew 2:13-18. Share the poem for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?"
29 - "Learn from the World Community" about food year-round. Eating at "Taco Bozo" does not qualify.
30 - Avoid RV's or SUV's! Recreational Vehicles and the very popular Sport Utility Vehicles are a scurge on the environment, God's Creation. Most get dismal gas mileage and are quite dangerous.
31: New Year's Eve - Celebrate at a locally-owned (preferably ethnic) restaurant. Participate in First Night's Eve, which is non-alcoholic.
January 1: New Year's Day - Resolve to get rid of one decorative item per week (or month) and not replace it. For every dollar we spent on our "leisure" or "luxuries" vow to give at least a dollar for the benefit of the needy.
2 -"Charity is cheap-compared to justice....What's so wrong with charity? Nothing-except this: It has the frightening capacity to dull our senses to God's call for justice." Charity is vital but it is not an substitute for Justice.
3: Christmas II - Read & meditate on Jeremiah 31:7-14; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1: (1-9) 10-18.
4 - Save your Christmas magazines from one year to the next (store them with your decorations) so that you won't feel so much desire to buy new magazines the next year. The constant quest for variety is a form of overconsumption.
5 - Get together with friends and family after Christmas - an Epiphany party - while the decorations are still up.
6: Epiphany - Read & meditate on Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12. Share the reflection for this day in "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" Offer the money you have been saving to the cause of your choice.
This Advent/Christmas calendar is appropriate as a poster and bulletin inserts.
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