When I was little, Christmas was about baby Jesus being born in a stable. It was a time to get excited about coming home from school and seeing the Christmas tree ready for ornaments. It was a time to ponder God sending his Son as a helpless baby. Christmas was about receiving gifts, seeing relatives (especially Clay and my cousins), and wearing special Christmas outfits. I remember one red dress in particular that I wore in kindergarten when I sang in the school's Christmas production. I just remember the way it would fill up with air as I spun in circles. I remember being so excited to attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service at my church. I thought it was beautiful to see the light from one candle spread across the whole sanctuary. I remember feeling like Christmas morning would never come. I remember asking John (my older brother) if we could sneak down the stairs to try and see Santa. I remember thinking the whole season was magical.
Somewhere along the way the magic fades and consumerism is left behind. It's just not as magical when you're responsible for purchasing all the gifts, not to mention funding them. I've said before that Patrick and I want to make a point to keep the Christmas season in perspective. While I want our children to experience the magic that I felt as a child, I also want our whole family to spend time remembering the true meaning of Christmas. I want to be sure that we have our "Linus" moment if you will. This desire is one of the reasons why I am so thankful that my mom gave us an advent wreath. This is the first year that we have actually used it and it has brought so much joy to my heart. I feel like the anticipation is growing within my soul for rescue, redemption, and the return of our Savior. While you will not find it mentioned in Scripture, I think the wreath can be a great tool. My hope is that the wreath will become a family tradition. I've posted a picture of it before, but here is what our wreath looks like.
When we spend time lighting an Advent wreath, we are taking time to celebrate the truth about God. It is a time to affirm that Jesus Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power. So when we light the candles we are reflecting on the past and placing hope in the future and final return of our Lord and Savior.
"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do