I think it is fascinating how people come into our lives at different stages. I love meeting people and establishing new friendships. Sometimes these friendships are temporary due to life situation changes and adjustments. Then there are those special relationships that last a lifetime, no matter the distance or other obstacles that could hinder these connections.
The Christmas story is a wonderful and powerful story of the birth of our Savior. The imagery of this story comes alive in our minds in so many ways. The shepherds, the wise men, Mary and Joseph, and an unassuming manger in that little town of Bethlehem all come together to set the stage for the greatest story that has ever been told.
When I was about 10 years old, I had a 7-year-old sister, as well as four brothers who were 1, 3, 8 and 12. A few weeks before Christmas, Mom escorted my two oldest brothers into a bedroom and closed the door. My sister and I could hear them rolling with laughter. Of course, we were quite curious, but Mom just said, “It’s almost Christmas time… don’t ask questions!” This ritual was repeated several times in the weeks leading up to Christmas, which of course, only made the wait more grueling for us. We couldn’t imagine what they were doing behind that door, and it nearly drove us crazy!
Nothing brings a smile to children quicker than seeing Santa Claus. St. Nick’s flowing white beard, his red suit, and big belly just make people smile. A few years ago, just for fun, I decided to wear a Santa suit to a restaurant for a holiday gathering of my church in Norman. You must be prepared when you wear a Santa costume out and about; children expect you to be St. Nick. I had a great time talking to folks in the restaurant and seeing children smile and laugh.
“Mom, now we can have Christmas!” Those were the words my daughter shared with me one evening as we left the St. Luke’s Christmas Concert.
How many of us wish it was that easy? Just speak it and it happens! It’s hard and tiring to get ready for Christmas. Even harder is to keep the joy and wonder of Christ’s birth continuing throughout Advent. But my daughter, Sabreana, was able to teach me a lesson about Christmas with those six words.
God the Son, Jesus Christ, came to us on Christmas. God loves us so much, He became human to reach us, to teach us, to save us from our sins, to defeat death so that we could too. The miracle of Christmas is easier to appreciate during Advent because the reminders are everywhere. We see Him in Nativity scenes and decorations. We hear about His glory in Christmas music at church and on the radio. But would it be so easy to see or hear Him… while lost at sea… for 49 days?
When my family starts to decorate the Christmas tree and take ornaments out of the box, stories begin to naturally flow. We talk about the vacation we were on when we got this ornament or ask questions to help us remember who got us this ornament and when. The hand-made ornaments from my kids when they were smaller always brings a smile to our faces.
I love the Advent season. The weeks leading up to Christmas morning are some of the holiest of the entire year. I have found there are several things that help me prepare to experience the birth of Christ to the fullest.
To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
3 Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
This week we begin the advent season. It is a wonderful time when we prepare for the arrival of Christ our Lord. Advent ends with Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus.