So I was aware it had been awhile since I posted...but November 19?? Thats pretty bad. Well perhaps not- life has been pretty intense the last few months and thankfully it is just now slowing down to a much more manageable pace. (this of course only happened through diligence, not luck!)
The holidays were wonderful- Advent this year took on a new meaning for me as I realized, perhaps for the first time, what advent is and means.
"Advent reminds us there is Joy in waiting...Advent is about Hope...Advent is about expecting, waiting, hoping and praying....rejoice; don't loose heart"
These phrases (taken from an amazing video click here!) for some reason blew the lid off of all I had previously thought about advent and presented a new and somehow refreshing challenge to relieve myself of the secular stresses of Christmas and instead celebrate Advent. Unintentionally we were so busy between the holidays that we did not put up a single Christmas decoration! This was rather depressing to me, and I can't be honest and say that I really embraced all those messages quoted above- but interesting how even without the decorations Christmas still came and was experienced. So for next year I am challenged to consider how we can celebrate Advent more than the American Christmas with which I am more familiar.
No- I'm not going to forsake decorations or discontinue gift giving- but perhaps a new emphasis on hope, anticipation, praying, joy even in waiting and rejoicing - and maybe our hope won't be for the items on our Christmas list, and the anticipation won't be for Santa and the praying will be less for ourselves and more for others, and joyful waiting allow for a new work in our hearts to be possible and as we rejoice it will be not just for family and all we are blessed with- but rather we will rejoice that God is Emmanuel, that he is Lord and is present in our time of greatest blessing and in our greatest suffering! How amazing that the hope he gives and the joy he gives transcends all circumstances! Praise be to God!!
Ok- two of my favorite moments from Christmas. The best was in two parts: 1. Hearing my grandmother read the Christmas story from the bible on Christmas morning. There is just something about the way she reads that makes me excited and reminds me of listening to her recite the 23 psalm when I was a kid. 2. Hearing my grandfather very tearfully read a poem he wrote about hope- seeing his heart as he read was something I will never forget.
Second favorite memory (among many great memories) was very simple, but it is these simple things I miss every day with my little sister because of the distance that separates me and my family. We made cupcakes :o)