Advent....I have to admit that Advent is something that has not really been a part of our Christmases. Growing up it was never talked about at church. At home we had a cardboard Advent calendar that my Aunt Ruth brought us from Germany. We did open and reopen the flimsy doors over and over until they fell off but no one ever talked about what it was about so it was just one of the decorations put up that time of year.
Later, one church had the Advent candles on the altar, lit appropriately, but no one ever talked about what Advent was all about.
Now we are in a church where Advent is observed and encouraged. This is our 11th Christmas in that church, and finally I'm catching on to what it is about.
Advent means a preparation for something coming; a time of waiting and preparing while you wait.
Preparation, complete and focused preparation takes time and so those four weeks leading up to the celebration of Christ's birth can do just that for us if we ask God to lead us to focus in the right places.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp ) I have found my days less stressful, less hurried, less tiring. My mind is quiet, looking for "graces," looking for His work around me, looking for His beauty, His glory, His power displayed among us. And I've seen more of God's grace EVERYWHERE.
170. On TV
—The music shows and the Christmas carols (the message is always out there but truth rings out to those who know Him).
—"A Charlie Brown Christmas" —God's amazing confirmation to millons each year as the Christmas story is read, word for word in this classic broadcast every year since 1965.
—The news as story after story is told of people giving, and giving and giving to those in need.
171. In friends
—As God works in friends, teaching them the simple truth of "giving thanks," they and I watch God work a miracle in their lives, outwardly and/or inwardly.
—Being more aware of their God who is always present, ALWAYS, for them to walk with, talk with, ask of as they are loved perfectly by their FATHER.
172. In me
—A quietness, a peace, an anticipation, a heart swell that cannot be contained as I thank my Father for His Son, for sending God, the Son to earth as a baby, Immanuel, God to be with us, the hope of glory.
—A love for those around me, my friends, and even those who don't know me that only comes because "God so loved the World, that He gave his only Son......" A love given by Him that models His love for me, His love that loves me no matter what I do or don't do. A love that doesn't judge me or remember sins forgiven. His love encourages me, enabling me to love those He places in my path.
—Clean new fallen snow that leaves all fresh and white....pure. Like the covering of Jesus righteousness over me.
—A waterfall still running in spite of the frozen pond below with no liquid available. And then gift upon gift, a robin—a big robin taking a bath at the very top among icy walls.
—The falling of snow—to provide a drink for the plants in a dry and arid time. Just like the truths that come from Heaven to give His children truths to hydrate the dry and thirsty soul.
All of this was here before....All of it....TV and the shows and music programs, my friends and my everyday life but now because of more awareness of Him (I have a ways to go), my eyes, my ears, my eyes, my brain can understand it better. I find my focus is on preparing and waiting (Advent) for His coming.....thinking about what it meant for God to come down and become flesh and what it will mean when He comes again.
"If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also."
The act of writing, of sharing the circumstances, the gifts and the graces planned and carried out by my Savior and God brings joy, peace, and contentment to know that He has my life in His hands. My prayer for those who read, who share in what I continue to learn each day, many times through my weakness, is that you will be encouraged to look for God's presence and grace in your life also.