Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thoughts on Advent

 It's Advent... to some, that really doesn't mean much, but it means a lot to me. Thinking of the calendar, Advent is the time before we celebrate the birth of Christ, the 4 weeks before Christmas. It's the beginning of the Christian Church Year.  To others, it's just "the time before Christmas" which seems to concentrate more on the craziness of the season than anything.

Don't get  me wrong - both of these are true. The time before Christmas is a magical, though somewhat stressful, period of time, especially when you have children. You're dealing with excitement surrounding Christmas, as well as the dozens of extra activities from concerts, to church events, to parties, and holiday travel.

But when I think of Advent, I think of more mystical thoughts I guess. I've always loved the season - perhaps because it appeals to my optimistic side - knowing that "it'll all be wonderful" while at the same time focusing on hope, peace, joy, and love... what's not to like? To me, the time preparing for Christmas, looking forward to seeing the kids open gifts, is better than Christmas Day itself. I love Christmas Day - I just like the whole "Adventish" aspect of preparing for it more.

Beginning with the Hanging of the Greens, the yearly renewal begins - it's the kick-off of the season for me. The idea of ancient people hearing the prophecies of Isaiah, looking forward to the birth of a Savior... and the angel sharing the news with Mary and Joseph... the scripture of the's all very special to me.

It's possible, perhaps... some might even say definitely, that I got a little too carried away during Advent. Decorating a different tree in each room seemed a tad extreme to some. But while reality has forced me to cut back on a few things - primarily due to lack in independence mixed with reluctance to ask for help - I still love this time of year. I can put out dozens of nativities... and as I look at Mary cradling her newborn son, and see Joseph standing there protectively, I think of the scriptures and imagine what it must have been like.

My favorite songs of the season are "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and "O Holy Night," but there are so many others I love as well. I've been listening to them for several weeks... yes, before Advent. Perhaps we could say the music was "the Advent of Advent?" No? Guess I'll just admit that I love the imagery of Advent and just wanted to enjoy it early!  :)

I've written several Advent devotional books, on various themes, so it's a topic I've thought about at great length. Over the next few weeks, I'll share some of the things from these books. I haven't decided whether to share all from one book, from different books each week, how often to share, or to be completely mixed up. Who knows? Guess I'll figure it out as I go. Stay tuned.

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