""Blessings Strengthen life and feed life just as water does." Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

This blog is a digital blessing bowl, a place to record the small blessings that are often missed or forgotten but which make life holy. Feel free to add your own blessings to my blessing bowl. Or perhaps you'll be encouraged to start your own.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"An expectant hush, rather than a last-minute rush"

Let's approach Christmas with an expectant hush, 
rather than a last-minute rush. 

Expectant, not frantic.  Hushed, not boisterous.  Contemplative, not celebratory.
Advent is a time of waiting and preparation for Christ's coming.  Beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day (November 28 of this year) we prepare our hearts for the celebration.  We focus on  hope, joy, peace, and love.
When our children were growing  up we observed advent in our church worship services, but we also observed it at home.   I made an advent wreath.  We gathered around it at the dining room table to read scripture, light the candles, and sing advent hymns.  When the children had learned to play the flute and piano, they accompanied us.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Setting up the advent wreath 1982

Our purpose and hope was to remind the children that the true joy of Christmas was not in the gifts under the tree, the cookies fresh from the oven, or the lights and decorations.  We wanted them to know in their hearts that "love came down" that first Christmas.  That we celebrate that love by sharing it with others.  That during advent we prepare our hearts to receive that love and to joyfully and expectantly wait for the second coming.

“Love came down at Christmas; love all lovely, love divine; love was born at Christmas, stars and angels gave the sign.”  Christina Rosseti

Our children have homes of their own now, and there are no little ones here to gather around our advent wreath.  But we realize that we weren't just doing it for the children.  We were doing it for ourselves, too.  Next week I'll set out my wreath with fresh candles.  The hymnal and the Bible will be close by.  We'll sing and read and prepare our hearts.

My husband blogged about advent and Christmas preparations in 2008 here.

For some advent resources go here.

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