A long time ago a poor family prepared to celebrate Christmas. There was no money for a Christmas tree or special decorations because the father of the house was out of work. There wasn’t even enough money to pay the heat bills and it was a cold winter that year.
Still the mother said, “Children this cardboard box is like the manger where Jesus first laid his head. Jesus was actually in a worse situation than we are. No heat AND no warm bed to sleep in! Let’s make this box a special place for Him. Did you know we can make this box glow with warmth if we fill it with our Good Deeds? Each of these pieces of paper will represent the good deeds you do. You can add one to the box every time you do something special.”
The children looked at the box. It WAS empty and it looked too cold for a baby. Their mother laid the plain brown box in on the floor in the living room with a stack of colored pieces of construction paper next to it.
That evening the little girl saw how hard her mom worked to make their supper. “I will do the dishes, Mom,” she said. The girl scrubbed all the plates and then dried her hands. Her Mom said, “Darling, you can be the first one to put a straw in the manger for Baby Jesus!”
It was only one yellow strip of paper in a plain brown box. But already the box seemed warmer and softer.
The next day the oldest son offered to take care of his little sister after school. Normally he complained about it. He’d would much rather be outside with his friends. But this time he stayed inside and read a book to his sister. And that evening he put an orange straw in the box for Jesus.
As the days went on, the children thought of many kind things they could do. A neighbor needed help shoveling her driveway when it snowed. A teacher needed someone to file papers during lunch. Their dad was tired after looking for work so they brought him a cup of tea.
The basket in their living room grew full with colorful straws. It was no longer plain or brown. It overflowed with color.
One day the mother noticed something different about their house. She felt warm! The box in the living room seemed to radiate heat! The family sat around the box. No one spoke, but each person smiled.
On Christmas Eve, the father of the house was offered a job! Miracles were beginning to happen…
And early the next morning, in the box in their living room, a beautiful statue of Jesus magically appeared in the box in the family’s living room.
“You made such a comfortable, soft place for baby Jesus by all you did these past few weeks, children. Look at baby Jesus. He fits so snugly in his bed now!” said the mother.
“This is the best Christmas ever,” shouted the children. And so it was!
ACTIVITY: Will you bring straws to the manger for Jesus?
Every Christmas our family creates a Good Deed basket for baby Jesus. For the Good Deed basket we tear strips of paper and write our good deeds on them. We put them in the basket and on the night of Christmas Eve, a doll that looks like the baby Jesus, appears.
During this Advent season we can prepare our hearts for Jesus by doing acts of kindness, just as Jesus did during his life on earth. These good deeds bring comfort to the baby who was a born in a stable.
Here are some things for our children to think about during Advent:
- Did I do chores without being asked?
- Was I nice to someone who was sad or having a bad day?
- Did I go to receive the Sacraments often enough?
- Have I been extra nice to my siblings?
- Was I helpful?
- Have I done any thing nice in the last couple days?
These are all things that will earn the Good Deeds straws for Jesus.
Remember not to lie when you put in your Good Deeds. (God knows)
Have a GREAT AND HOLY Advent season!