Today marked the third Sunday of Advent. Our church has been decorated in its Christmas finery since the beginning of the month, and the atmosphere today was especially warm and inviting. The stormy weather outside was doing its best to dampen spirits. My family, minus my son who was called in to work, had the privilege of lighting this week's candle of love. It was a moving experience listening to my daughter read scripture. Once a tiny tot in our church family, she has grown into an intelligent, and capable young woman. Her reading was beautiful. We anticipate the pleasure of watching another family light the remaining candle next week, and the Christ candle on Christmas Eve.
Traditions in the church family are as memorable and important as those created by families at home. At this time of year, we plan pageants, caroling to shut ins, distribute candy canes at the local college, and work together to make Christmas wishes come true for children in need. It is in these activities that I often find the true spirit of Christmas that others look for in the local mall.
The hymns selected today to correspond with the chosen sermon asked the Christ child to come. In advent we prepare. We ask. We seek. O Come O come Emmanuel resonates through my mind, where I heard it for the first time as a child. The choir my mother sang in was blessed with an amazing tenor, who traditionally began one service during advent with an accapella version of that song. I can still hear his powerful, and moving voice as he asked Jesus to come. So beautiful and poingnant.
As the secular side of Christmas grows each year, Advent has greater meaning for me. Our tree goes up Thanksgiving weekend. We decorate inside and out. We light candles both in our windows at home, and in church. And we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ child.
With the advent of Christmas, I wish you all the blessings found in family.
And a few surprises along the way. But those are stories for another time.
A warm country hug to all,