Advent: Countdown to Christmas

‘Tis the season.  Christmas merchandise appeared on store shelves the day after Halloween.  Parades and football publicly marked Thanksgiving.  Black Friday, Small Merchant Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday have come and gone.  ‘Tis a countdown to Christmas.

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The church counts down in an entirely different way.  Four Sundays of Advent.  One candle lit today; one more to be lit each Sunday.  A call to pause, to reflect, to prepare, to wait, to remember, to look forward.  Celebrating Christmas comes later.

Behind the scenes, pastors and church staffs and volunteers have been getting ready for weeks: finding new readings for lighting candles on the Advent Wreath, choosing hymns and anthems appropriate for waiting and watching (and sneaking in a Christmas carol?), making plans for the annual children’s Christmas pageant, getting lists for the Giving Tree, decorating the sanctuary, and so much more.  I’m so grateful for their commitment and their good cheer in this crazy season of high expectations.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about the Biblical Christmas story:  the people, the places, the creatures, the trips, the songs.  I’ve reread the stories as recorded in the gospels and started a list of questions and observations.

My goal this Advent is to go deeper into the stories, to take another look at what is told and what is left untold.  I plan to blog some of what I discover (or re-remember) along the way and hope you’ll join me for the journey.

Before we begin, I invite you to simply recall the story of Jesus’ birth – the setting, the characters, the words.   You’re welcome, of course, to turn to the gospel accounts.  But it’s certainly not required!

Until next time,  Teressa

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