Saturday, November 30, 2013

Advent thoughts from Doug

From Doug, 

We decorated the house for Christmas today.  The tree is decked out and standing brightly in the corner of the living room.  Emily’s Christmas village of houses is displayed and the collection of nutcrackers are standing guard on the mantle.  I put lights on the outside and picked up a new inflatable snowman to replace the one who melted on us last year (or something like that).  

This always happens on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving in our house, but only because I won’t let Emily and the girls do it any sooner.  If they had their way, decorations and Christmas music would start filling out home sometime in mid-October.  I think it is good to wait, to anticipate, to expect.  By the time the decorating happens, the girls are excited to seeeverything come back down from the attic and to see what new thing might be in the yard.

The tree and the lights and the stockings and the Nativity set that surround us for the next few weeks point ahead to the culmination of the season.  They help to build our sense of excitement and expectation.  The practice of Advent allows us to do the same thing with our hearts and our souls.  Advent is a time to prepare, to let the excitement and anticipation build as we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus again.  

We know the story and if we are not careful we will jump ahead to the climax before it is time.  Our hearts need time to get ready.  Our souls need time to let go and refocus.  That is the goal of the calendar and activities with the elf.  Each day, there will be verses to read and an idea for your elf.  If you don’t have an elf, just use the verses (they are the important part anyway!)

Allow the story to build.  Allow your mind to focus.  Allow your heart to celebrate.  And when it is time, sing with all your might about the miracle of the coming of Christ.  By that time, you and your family will be ready and this could be your best Christmas ever!

When I was picking the verses for the calendar, this one kept coming back to me as a theme for this adventure, and really it is our prayer for our family and yours this Advent and Christmas season:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Now go find a good place for that elf to be in the morning!

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