(Centering Prayers, Peter Traben Haas)
Thanksgiving arrived late on the 2019 calendar. At our house, the Christmas tree was up and much of the house was already decorated on Thanksgiving Day. Because some family members will not be with us for Christmas, following dessert, we transitioned from Thanksgiving into a mini-Christmas celebration.
Back row: left to right: younger daughter, Sarah, her hubby, Brandon; son-in-law Jon and older daughter, Angie; my mom, Kathryn; second granddaughter, Mackenzie and boyfriend, Gavin; Sue, Ron. Front row: left to right: younger grandson, Reeve, youngest granddaughter, Emmi; Merci, our pooch, and Freddie, Angie & Jon’s dog, all decked out in their Christmas outfits. Missing: oldest granddaughter, Sydney and her boyfriend, Bryan, and older grandson, Jackson. Love, love, love, my people!!
If you know me well, you know I love everything Christmas. The sights, the sounds, the scents of the season fill me with excitement—and, I admit, sometimes, exhaustion.
In my non-liturgical faith tradition, little emphasis was placed on Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas. A couple years ago, I downloaded an Advent devotional, which I read daily until December 25th.
I loved this newfound dimension of Christmas and determined I’d delve more deeply into the sacred meaning of the holy season. Last year I created an Advent wreath for our home as well as blogged about each week’s Advent theme.
During December 2019, I will be reprinting many of those posts in the Listening on the Journey… blog. Each week, the focus will be on a traditional theme of Advent:
There are variations of the order in which each week is symbolized. This order may differ from the one you’re using. The weekly designations I’ll use are:
Week One, symbolizing HOPE;
Week Two, symbolizing PEACE;
Week Three, symbolizing JOY;
Week Four, symbolizing LOVE.
On Christmas Eve, our two youngest grandkids will light a fifth, taller candle, symbolic of Jesus, the true reason for this lovely season.
This first week of Advent reminds us of the long-hoped-for Messiah, the arrival of Emmanuel (also spelled Immanuel), through the mystery of the incarnation.
Christmas is about the incarnation of Jesus. Strip away the season’s hustle and bustle, the trees, the cookies, the extra pounds, and what remains is a humble birth story and a simultaneously stunning reality — the incarnation of the eternal Son of God.
This incarnation, God himself becoming human, is a glorious fact that is too often neglected, or forgotten, amidst all the gifts, get-togethers, pageants, and presents…
In Thursday’s post, I will focus further on the importance of the hope of Emmanuel. Until then,
Blessings as you ponder the mystery of the incarnation and the hope of Christmas…
- Joseph Scheumann, www.desiringgod.org/articles/five-truths-about-the-incarnation ↑