Fourth Advent: Love


There’s one Dutch tradition we ditched pretty quickly after moving from the Netherlands to Italy.

Some of our Dutch friends are about to be shocked.

Sinterklaas didn’t make it.

Ask me why later.

We now enjoy giving each other gifts around Christmas instead.

Two days ago I returned from teaching in a Discipleship Training School at YWAM Durres, Albania.  

Highlight upon arriving home: the kids couldn’t hold their excitement to show me the growing number of gifts in our living room, waiting to be opened on Christmas morning.

Each gift beautifully wrapped, with not one, but two names on the wrapping: ‘from…’ and ‘to…’

There’s one thing about this whole event that truly blesses my heart deeply as a dad.

My wife, Rianne, and I were observing how much excitement each of the kids has about finding the perfect give for each of the other family members. The focus is not on the receiving, but the giving.

“Did you see that another gift with your name on it was just added?”

There are days they can barely keep their excitement. Just this morning Zeph was about to tell everyone what was inside his self made package, but Rianne helped him contain himself.

They’re filled with anticipation for the day their sister, brother, mom or dad gets to unwrap their gift and can’t wait to see their siblings’ or parents’ eyes light up with surprise and amazement.

“I know you’re going to really like this one!” Their confidence in how well they know each other grows with each surprise package.

When the kids start finding more joy in giving than receiving, I think as a family we’re taking big steps to learn something about love.

There’s so much fun in the build up.

So much anticipation.



Not just waiting for the gifts, but waiting to give.

Not just waiting to receive, but anticipating to surrender.

–A different approach to Advent

We give each other gifts as a reminder of the gifts given to Jesus.

We give each other gifts because He gave us the best gift of all.

God himself stepped into his Creation.

The greatest act of love.

Tomorrow morning we will light our fourth Advent candle and reflect on the word love.

Did you join us? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or a share.

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