“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,

because he has come and has redeemed his people.”

Luke 1:68

Advent is a wonderful time when we can come together in the remembrance of the greatest story ever told.

About a week and a half ago, I wasn’t feeling so great. Our family is going to be away this Christmas and I wondered aloud if we really needed to put up the tree and ALL the decorations. And then it happened: while my husband Kurt and I were away at a brunch with cousins, my son hung Christmas lights outside. He was so pleased with his work that he wouldn’t let me turn them on until it was completely dark: “You want to get the full effect, Mom.” The next morning during worship, Pastor showed a short video clip about what Advent is and is not. Flashing before me on the screen were the words: prepare joyfully! My son and my pastor had reminded me that this is a time in which I get to prepare, not a time of have-tos! That afternoon I slowly and very carefully put up a beautiful tree. No, it wasn’t an 8-foot noble fir; it was an artificial 4-foot tree with the lights already strung. It was just a little tree that required just a little attention. I took an hour and a half to remember that my small labor of love was in remembrance of God’s huge miracle in a manger.

Heavenly Father, help us to experience the wonderful and the beautiful this Christmas. Help us to look past the stuff, the ToDos, all those things that distract us from Your hope, peace, love and joy. May we enjoy the full effect of this most blessed time! Amen.