Monday, December 30, 2013

What does "Advent" mean to you?

What a wonderful CHRISTmas season we enjoyed this year. 

We were truly blessed.

As we finished our season of Thanksgiving, and said goodbye to family that visited, we jumped almost immediately into the sacred season of Advent.

Over the last few years, we've enjoyed the series of books by Arnold Ytreeide.

The first book in his three-part series is Jotham's Journey.  

It is a fictional story of a young 10 year-old boy in Biblical times who finds himself separated from his family. His journey takes him to some pretty exciting and dangerous places, but ends as his life intersects with the birth of Christ in Bethlehem.

Each night, we gathered the boys together as Tom read aloud that night's portion of the story and we let them take turns lighting the advent candles. 

It was important to us that they , especially our newest sons , Connor and Cooper, began to understand that advent was a season of preparation for the celebration of Christ's birth.

All our boys, young and old, grew to look forward to that time each night and were disappointed whenever our schedule prohibited the story.  They were very quick to remind us that the next night they were "owed" 2 stories to catch up. 

The story is timed to end on Christmas Day when the white candle is lit representing the Savior, or the "Christ candle".  

This year, we had a special guest with us for our Christmas meal and so he was able to join us for the final reading as well.

We ended our Christmas Day celebrations hearing the amazing story of Christ's birth and watching our children marvel over the incredible gift.

This is the true "magic" of Christmas. Not the lights, or bells, or movies.  It isn't even about the charity or peace on earth that so many think comes from good deeds done in the name of "Christmas spirit". It is simply about the gift of complete freedom that comes from a relationship with that baby, born in a dirty cow stall. A gift we cannot ever earn and thankfully, once received, we cannot ever lose. 
Praise be to God!

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