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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday Sermonette--Advent: What Does It Mean?


These are the definitions of Advent per Dictionary.com:
1. a coming into place, view, or being; arrival: the advent of the holiday season.
2. (usually initial capital letter) the coming of Christ into the world.
3. (initial capital letter) the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world.
4. (usually initial capital letter) Second Coming.

I'm focused on No. 2 for the next few weeks, because this is the Advent season--that time of again breathlessly awaiting the birth of the Christ child.

I love this photograph--the sheep grazing confidently in a field, unafraid of danger because their shepherd is near. The stormy skies tell me that the Child will have a stormy life. And the rainbow is the promise that all will be well in the end.

Advent is a joyous season for most people, but not all. For some it's a reminder that they don't have as much as they want to spend on their children--or on themselves. Or maybe the season reminds them of the death of someone they love or other unhappy memories surrounding Christmas.

There have been years when I was in the financially strapped boat. The only way I could afford Christmas presents was to shop right after I got my income tax refund. That was my life saver--except then I had to find a way to hide it away until Christmas arrived nearly a year later! Still--I had the joy of knowing it was done!

And then there was the year my dad died on Christmas Day. I could have sunk under that memory--but I also knew Dad loved Christmas, and he would have hated for us to stop celebrating it because he was no longer there.

So what do I do? I listen to Christmas songs. I don't mean just mentally register that the song I just heard is a Christmas song. I LISTEN to them, and with not just my ears. The heart is also involved. I remember the joy of watching the kids opening their presents. I think about what's coming--that Holy Day, a truly Blessed Event. Anticipate the joy.

That's Advent to me.

May God make this the best Advent season you've ever had. That's my prayer for you.

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