What Will We Celebrate?

Growing up in a non-religious family, December always meant “Christmas”. In our family, we would decorate the tree, place the presents underneath it, and wait for the 25th, when my sisters and their husbands and children would start to arrive. I would get to see what gifts were in my stocking early in the morning, and open a few gifts before “the crowd” arrived. Then, as people started showing up mid-morning, my Mother would set out an amazing Christmas brunch for all to enjoy. Even then, Christmas was a spread-out affair, celebrated leisurely throughout the day.

Fast forward many years to my introduction to the season of Advent. I’d not really considered the difference between Advent and Christmas before; I’d always understood Advent to be just another name for “the Christmas season”. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there were TWO holiday seasons in December: Advent, the season of waiting and preparation, and Christmas, the season of arrival and celebration.

I find that when I spend the early part of December observing the Advent season, I prepare my heart for the arrival of Christ. Like the lyric from “Joy to the World” states, “let every heart prepare Him room”… and that’s what Advent does in my life. From the pulpit this month, I’ve been focusing on Watching and Waiting, with a weekly challenge to for us all: Come Let Us Walk, Come Let Us Gather, Come Let Us Return, and Come Let Us Obey, all leading up to Christmas Eve Service, Come Let Us Wonder.

It IS a wonder what Christ has done for all of humanity; my challenge is to hold in my heart and mind the child-like hope and amazement at the arrival of Christmas; not just because of the presents under the tree, but because of the Prescence of Jesus in our world, and in our lives. This Advent time of Preparation gets my heart ready to celebrate the Presence of Jesus in the Christmas season. That’s one of the main reason our family celebrates all 12 days of Christmas (up through January 5th)… because we’ve spent so long preparing, we want to really stretch out our celebration as long as we can.

I am so grateful to be among you all, to wait with you during Advent, and to help prepare us all for the arrival of the Christ in our lives during Christmas.

Let Every Heart Prepar Him Room, and Keep Following Jesus – Ed

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Pastor Ed Backell

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