As we grew up, our excitement about the activity waned and one-by-one the different crafts living in each pocket began to fade and our felt Christmas Calendar was replaced by day-planners (I was a Franklin Planner guy), Personal Digital Assistants (I had a Cassiopeia and numerous Palm Pilots), and finally smart phones.
As adults, we can learn to embrace this period of "waiting-for-Christmas" as a gift. It is one of Christianity’s great treasures. Western Christianity calls this season “Advent,” as in “arrival.” Eastern Christianity calls it the “Nativity Fast.”
Child-sized felt calendars are for a child-sized Advent. As adults, however, we need an adult sized Advent.
Most people understandably see waiting and fasting as in-between times, periods between two important moments. Consequently, we endure waiting and fasting like we might hold our breath. However, Advent is not an in-between time. It stands on it’s own, just as the season of Christmas (or Christmastide) lasts twelve days (thus "the twelve days of Christmas”) and stands on its own as a season of "feasting".
Advent invites us to wait and not hold our breath, but to breath and be attentive and awake. Usually, we endure mundane tasks. When we wash dishes, we are not actually washing dishes, but thinking about what we would rather be doing or what we will do once we are done. When we are in conversation, we are not really listening, but thinking about what we will say next. When we are driving a car, we tolerate the time that passes until we arrive at out destination.
Rather than hold our breath during Advent, we are invited to a waiting which awakens us, a waiting which alerts us to forgotten longings and hidden joy, a waiting which allows the Kingdom or realm of God to emerge, a waiting in which a precious gift will arise.