As our Sunday School class discussed ways to live out these ideals, I spoke about the gifts my parents used to make for me. In response to my recent post about traditions, many of you wrote that making Christmas presents helps you celebrate. As a child, my favorite gifts were things my mother or father made for me. The first Christmas I can remember, I awoke to a toy kitchen my father had built. Often, I would catch hints of these projects during the months leading up to Christmas. From a time before I was old enough to see over the kitchen table, I can remember marveling at the pieces of fabric and yarn that would eventually become Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. Years later, I would sneak into the basement to peek at the doll's trunk my father was building, or I might catch a glimpse of calico that would somehow become a little dress by Christmas morning.
Making or buying handmade gifts certainly answers some of the Advent Conspiracy's calls. By making gifts for me, my parents spent far less money than most American parents, yet they gave me gifts I will always treasure for the time, care, and thoughtfulness they required.
|Homemade, matching nightgowns, so Bethany can be just like Mama, 1987.|
Before I had an answer to these more difficult questions, Jeremy spoke up from across the room. "I think giving gifts can teach us about the Incarnation," he said. "Ideally, any Christmas gift should remind us that Christ's willingness to live among us was a gift. But think about Bethany's story -- she saw signs of the gift long before it came. From the hints and signs in her house, she learned that good was coming, and that one day those bits and pieces would become something wonderful because her parents loved her. Maybe that's one way giving gifts can teach us about Christmas -- by reminding us that something more is coming from one who loves us."
|Jackie learned the pattern as a girl in France.|
This gift is a pair of knitted slippers. I love knitting, in large part because it leaves the mind open for conversation or prayer. I transcribed the pattern from Jackie, my surrogate "grandma." Jackie came to America from France in the 1940s, and each Christmas I look forward to receiving a cup of tea and an hour of stories from her. I am excited to share this pattern with you because it could be the emblem for these ruminations of handmade gifts. Jackie once gave me a pair of these slippers, and I wrote the pattern down at her kitchen table last December. My notes, a strange composite of English and French, provide a very rough prophecy for the warmth the actual slippers will provide, and I love the idea that I am passing the pattern to you as it was passed down to me.
You can find the pattern by clicking here for Grandma Jackie's Slippers.
|I think it has a rather pleasingly elfin look to it.|
What is the most meaningful handmade gift you have ever received or have given? Do you think giving gifts at Christmas can teach us anything about the Incarnation?