Thursday, December 17, 2015

ADVENT

This time of year often finds me a little conflicted.  Christmas is so widely celebrated in so many ways, and I love the lights and general merriment to be found all around.  We want our children to understand why we celebrate, but they get barraged with a lot of messages this time of year.  Sometimes, it feels hard to find Jesus in the midst of it all.

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That picture is from the inflatable yard.  I didn't even notice the nativity until the second walk through the yard.  John commented that it was a perfect metaphor for modern Christmas.  This is not a slam on the inflatable house (which we loved).  It's just a reality about the way that Christmas is celebrated secularly - Jesus is tacked on or mixed in with lots of other stuff.

So - how do we make celebrating Christmas about Jesus in our home?  One of the ways that we try to do this is by observing Advent.  We've actually done advent Mondays this year, because our Sundays have been really crowded.  As you might imagine, this is not a peaceful, reflective time to study Scripture and see what God's word says about Jesus's first or second coming.  It is chaos, plus a little fire.  But - we want our children to know what Christmas and really what our whole lives are about.

Jesus came once to the earth as a tiny baby.  He performed miracles, great and small.  He took our sins and died on the cross with them, and then he rose from the dead, conquering sin and death.  And someday, he will come again.  We are waiting for that glorious day.  Any good that we experience now will pale in comparison to the glory and joy that will arrive when Jesus comes back to earth.

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We light the candles.  We read the verses.  We talk of hope and joy and prophecy.  We fight over who gets to blow out which candle.  The truth of Christmas is so beautiful all on its own.  Sometimes I wish it didn't get mixed in with all the other stuff, because it is easy to lose track of what matters the most - which is true no matter what time of year it is, but I think it rings especially true this time of year.

Jesus came, and he's coming again.  I'm so thankful, and my heart fills with joy at this thought.  Merriest of Christmases to you.

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