I started this month off by talking about our tradition of ding-dong ditching the neighbors. Well, tonight's the night we start our 12 Days of Christmas with the neighbors. This year's theme is Simple Reminders of Jesus.
We do this every year for a couple of reasons. First, it's fun. How often do my kids get to ding-dong ditch anyone with the full support of their parents? Second, it helps to remind us to keep our hearts focused on Jesus. As we put together the gifts each year, it's a great opportunity to talk with my own kids about what Christmas really means. Third, it lets our neighbors know we love them.
You see, we are truly blessed. We know God must have hand-picked our next-door neighbors. If we need anything from a cup of flour to some help with an emergency run to the ER in the middle of the night, our neighbors are always willing to pitch in. Our girls spend their summers outside together or running back and forth between our houses. We could not have asked for better neighbors. And what better time than Christmas to remind us and them of how grateful we are that God placed us next door to one another.
So, this year, I wanted to share with you our ding-dong ditch plan so that you, too, can shower someone in your neighborhood with a 12 Days of Christmas surprise. Within this blog post, you'll find the list of things we're leaving. If you click on the picture, you'll find the notes we're leaving with the gifts.
Day 1: A string of lights to remind them that Jesus is the light of the world.
Day 2: Fake snow to remind them that Jesus washes away our sins and makes us whiter than snow.
Day 3: Christmas cookies to remind them that we are the aroma of Christ.
Day 4: A small Christmas tree to remind them that God's love is evergreen (eternal).
Day 5: A star to remind them that wise men and women still seek Jesus.
Day 6: A sheep (not a real one) to remind them to worship the baby in the manger in this season.
Day 7: Birthday party hats to remind them that this is a season for celebration.
Day 8: A gingerbread house to remind them that Jesus is the cornerstone of our lives
Day 9: A Christmas CD to remind them that God loves a joyful noise in praise of His son.
Day 10: A small wreath to remind them that like the circle, God has no beginning and no end.
Day 11: A notebook to remind them to keep track of all the ways that God is faithful in the coming year.
Day 12: A cross to remind them that while we celebrate Jesus' birth on Christmas, it's his death and resurrection that save us all.
These are all simple, inexpensive things to give, yet they add up to a meaningful reminder of Jesus. They help both my neighbor's family and my own keep their eyes on Jesus through these final days leading up to Christmas.
No matter what you choose to do to keep your eyes and hearts focused on Jesus, do it with a spirit of joy and awe. Because Jesus was born in a stable so He could grow up, die on a cross, defeat death, and rise again -- all so that we could no longer be separated from God. If that's not cause for joy, I don't know what is.