BY ISN STAFFDecember 11, 2012

Written By: Megan Wilson-Reitz

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Tuesday, December 25th
Today, hold the poor and the outcast in your heart as you honor the Child in the Manger.  Express deep gratitude for all that you have and remember in your prayers all those who do not have enough. Notice all the abundance around you and be glad of it, then think of ways to “keep the gift moving” to those who need it, throughout the rest of the season and beyond.[/gn_box]

Sunday, December 2nd
Review your ‘gift list.’  Think about quality rather than quantity in giving.   Consider giving gifts you can make yourself, gifts of your time, gifts of things you already have, gifts that do not require money to change hands.

Monday, December 3rd
Today, eliminate all unnecessary spending.  Pack your lunch.  Resist the urge to stop for coffee on the way to work.  At the end of the day, count up the money you have saved by not spending it frivolously.  Give that money away.  Try to make this a daily practice throughout Advent.

Tuesday, December 4th
Turn off the TV today.  Use the extra quiet time to do something good for your relationships: write a letter, play a board game with your spouse, chat with your kids, pray.

Wednesday, December 5th
Throw away all the advertisements you can get your hands on.  Burn them in your fireplace and enjoy the warmth.  Better yet, recycle them into a gorgeous papier-mache art project.

Thursday, December 6th
Happy St. Nicholas Day!  Celebrate by giving a pair of shoes to someone who needs them.   While you’re at it, clean out your closet and give away a bag of clothes.

Friday, December 7th
Invite people over to cook dinner together instead of meeting them at a restaurant.

Saturday, December 8th
Avoid the mall.  Go to a Fair Trade shopping event today if you need to buy Christmas gifts.   Reflect upon all of the workers and craftspeople whose dignity and humanity are honored by your purchase of their fairly traded goods.

Saturday, December 9th
Reduce your use of technology today.  Keep the TV and computer off; put away cell phones; turn off the lights and light candles; make something from scratch instead of from a mix; wash something by hand instead of using an appliance; walk instead of driving.

Monday, December 10th
Honor International Human Rights Day by contributing some money, time, expertise or prayers to an organization working to promote human rights.  Then attend the ISN Solidarity on Tap and get some energy for this Advent journey.

Tuesday, December 11th
Turn off the radio in the car today.  Breathe in the silence.  Pray for peace.

Wednesday, December 12th
Go through your house with a box and find 24 things you do not need anymore – one for each day of Advent.  Throw them away, give them away, or donate them.

Thursday, December 13th
Clear out a space in your home to set up a nativity scene.  (Remember, do not put the child in the manger until Christmas arrives!)  After Christmas, leave something symbolic in that space to remind you to pray for the coming of the Kingdom every day.

Friday, December 14th
Multiply your giving: for each person on your gift list, make a donation to a favorite cause of theirs, or give a gift in their name to someone in need.

Saturday, December 15th
Are the sales tempting you to ‘shop till you drop’?  Throw those ads away again, and turn off the TV!  Put on slippers and stay home.  Knit a warm hat and donate it to a homeless shelter.

Sunday, December 16th
Reflect on today’s Gospel reading: “The crowds asked John the Baptist, ‘What should we do?’ He said to them in reply, ‘Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.’” Are we following these directions appropriately and adequately?  Identify one thing you can do today to live this more fully.

Monday, December 17th
Tonight, make your meal deliberately simple.  A vegetarian soup and bread, for example, or beans and rice.  As you eat it, pray for those around the world who are hungry.  After dinner, go online and make a donation to an organization that is working to end hunger.

Tuesday, December 18th
Make something with your hands today.  Pray for all those who make a living by creating things by hand.   Pray for justice and equality for all workers.

Wednesday, December 19th
Look at your household budget.  Find one line item that you could eliminate next year in order to save money.  Then ‘redistribute’ that saved money to a charity or person in need.

Thursday, December 20th
Think about all of the extra things you are doing this holiday season because someone else has convinced you they are necessary parts of the holiday.  (Do you really want to buy expensive gifts for your entire extended family?  Or bake fourteen batches of Christmas cookies?)  Simplify!  Eliminate as much as you can, and minimize the rest.  Give yourself permission to say ‘no’ to something today.

Friday, December 21st
Wrap your Christmas gifts in newspaper or re-use other paper.  Recycle household items, old ornaments, or other miscellanea in place of gift bows and tags.  Be creative!

Saturday, December 22nd
Do something fun today that does not involve spending money. Visit a park and go for a snowy hike; go
sledding; go look at Christmas lights; go to a free holiday concert.

Sunday, December 23rd
Celebrate (or start) a Christmas tradition that does not require money: go Christmas caroling, build up a fire and tell stories, attend a cultural event such as a Las Posadas celebration, or go to a Christmas pageant and enjoy the retelling of the beginnings of our own Christian story.

Monday, December 24th 
Celebrate an old-fashioned and healthy tradition: tonight, fill children’s stockings with fruit and nuts, rather than toys and candy. If you do not have children, start a Christmas Eve tradition this year that is Jesus-centered and expresses solidarity with the poor.

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