ARLINGTON, VA – It's the most wonderful time of the year, but let's face it, for many families Christmastime is chaotic. There are parties to plan, cookies to bake, gifts to buy, and after all the hustle many people find themselves depleted come Christmas Eve.
Virginia mother and grandmother Melissa Carey has been there.
"I really want to empower and equip moms with a way to take the chaos out of Christmas – how to have a peaceful, intentional Advent," she told CBN News during an interview at her home.
For as long as she can remember, Carey says she's longed for an Advent calendar that goes deeper than just "Mary, Joseph, and some camels."
"I wanted more from the nativity set. I wanted more from the Advent calendar then stale chocolates. I knew there was something so much richer and deeper to the story," she says.
So she made one that you too can enjoy.
"I looked at what the world had to offer in nativity scenes and crèches and then I looked at what the Word had to offer. What's in the Word about the nativity? You know, what does the Bible tell us? And that's what I modeled the Christmas Cabinet after," she explains.
Each day of Advent, families can open a drawer in her Christmas Cabinet to find a piece of the story of Christ's birth.
"These are completely Biblically accurate and for me, it was really important to start with the concept of atonement. Atonement is a really hard concept to understand, but it's the whole reason Jesus came so we start on the very first day with the high priest Zechariah going into the holy of holies to offer a sin atonement," she says.
She includes a book (the pages are waterproof and tear-proof) that offers both a biblical and historical text for each day of Advent along with a question to immerse families deeper into the miraculous story.
"Well, one of my favorite days is Bethlehem and we talk about how Bethlehem is a very small village just a few miles south of Jerusalem and we weave in the history of the Old Testament," she explains.
"And we weave in the prophecies. The Prophet Micah says that from Bethlehem will come the savior of the world and my favorite part is Beth - le - hem. Anytime you see 'beth' it means 'house of,' but Bethlehem means 'House of Bread' which is amazing because Jesus calls himself the bread of life."
Carey's Christmas Cabinet even includes a bag of real frankincense.
"So it was really important to me to look at the historical significance of each one of the figures, tie in the Old Testament prophecies, the New Testament teachings as well as the applications from Biblical history."
She's in awe of stories about how God is using her product, but she also offers free resources on her website for each day of Advent. For her, it's all about sharing the true meaning of Christmas.
"The figure for December 24th is a Christmas gift and we talk about how God sent Jesus as the best gift we could ever receive. 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that each and every one of us that believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.'"
Now Carey has the Advent calendar she's always wanted and you can too.
Who is Jesus? Is he really God’s Son? And what does Jesus have to do with Heaven? Your questions are answered here.