Advent is the beginning of the annual church pilgrimage through Scripture and salvation history. I think of it as the starting gate to the yearly reunion with our spiritual ancestors from the Bible and from two thousand years of Christian history. In the midst of reconnecting with all of those characters in the stories, I am often confronted with the relationships I have with my own relatives and ancestors.
Maybe Advent is a good time for me to pray for the members of my family, both alive and dead. I carry a full array of emotions, feelings, and thoughts about them–gratitude, sorrow, love, resentment, delight, frustration, friendship, bewilderment, joy, forgiveness, and unforgiveness. Some of those relationships need healing or maybe just a fresh way to view them. I need to vent some ill feelings and forgive some of my relatives. But I also need forgiveness for my behavior with them. Praying for my relatives opens the door to my memory, but also to my heart. In most cases, my prayer time with family members will remind me of the richness and love in those relationships.
Below is a template for a family tree calendar. Pray for a family member each day. Write the name of the person or paste a picture (with glue or digitally) in a ball on the tree. Doodle, draw, and include words if you like. Make this an opportunity for God to be part of the relationship. “Let go, let God,” and listen.
Download as a Powerpoint (looks cut off, but is not when downloaded and printed), a pdf or a jpg. All print nicely on an 8.5 x 11 page. Expand it to an 11 x 17 piece of paper for more space (129%-135%).
Click: pptx or pdf or jpg
What a great idea, Sybil! Our DOK chapter at St. James is adopting your idea of decorating a ‘Christmas’ tree for Advent. I’ll send you a photo when it’s finished.
Great, please do send me pictures.