We have two godsons. One is a young adult; the other is six years old. We're far away from them this year, but were visiting last weekend, and so I wanted to give them gifts - partly just to show our love but partly to foster their spiritual growth. So I went shopping for Advent gifts.
For our six-year-old godson, I bought the Advent magnets shown above. The big magnets on the top half of the sheet separate out into six - the wreath and candles, plus five separate flame magnets. Each "flame" can be placed over a candle on each Sunday of Advent (and Christmas Day). Below this are five "cards", with a suggested short Bible reading and prayer to go with the lighting of each candle. Besides encouraging his word-based expression of faith it also helps him practice his new reading skills, with the themes for each candle written in such large letters.
I knew you would remember! I replied, and that's why I wanted to get this for you. Her second comment had to do with how small it was. I explained that it was designed for a child's hand but she corrected me: This was designed for a BABY's hand! Still, she was pleased with it. Being an extrovert, she thanked me for it (or told me how much she liked it) about four different times. Finally she said, When we have Junior Church again, I'm going to bring this, and we can pass it around the circle at prayer time.
I'm not sure our godson explicitly thanked us for his gift, except when prompted by his mother. But he immediately opened up the package and found a place to display the magnets, and later carefully asked me to help him read all the different themes. I took the opportunity for a quick chat with him about the fact that these themes don't match up exactly with the Godly Play themes for the Sundays, and encouraged him to ponder ways in which they do match up and ways in which they don't. We both laughed at the suggestion that Mary and Joseph's entry into Bethlehem might have been peaceful - probably not! Towards the end of our visit he caught my eye and slyly demonstrated how a flame would look atop a candle. As soon as we'd both seen it he snatched it away again, as if to stress how well he understood that it was not yet time to light that candle! So even though he didn't gush over the present the way his sister did, I know he appreciated it and will use it in his observance of Advent.