Sunday, December 2, 2007
Today marks the beginning of Advent season, which ends of course on Christmas Day, and is often described as having a dual nature. The focus of the season is the celebration of the birth of Christ the Savior in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.
Christians have assorted traditions and symbolisms to help themselves and their children stay focused on the spiritual meaning of Christmas. Things like Advent wreath and calendar, a continued story time of the Christmas story, caroling, a nativity, being "Jesus's hands" by finding things to do for others, various contributions, etc... It can be so easy to get caught up in extravagance and self indulgence during this festive month, especially if those you spend much time with seem to be swept up in the commercialism of it all. I once knew someone who would start a list the day after Thanksgiving, of all the things she planned to do to keep her family focused on Jesus through Advent since it would be the toughest time for them to stay focused.
As a kid, every December I would find the old caroling booklet that our church had once handed out and would spend a chunk of time almost everyday in my room just singing the carols over and over till I had many of them memorized by the time I was a teen. The Christian messages in many of them where little seeds of knowledge of what Christmas really is for, and may have helped prepare my heart to receive Christ as my savior. There were other things that played a part in that whole process, but it just goes to show what might influence our lives for the good. There is enough out there to influence us for bad without even having to think about it, so some little meaningful traditions seem like a good safeguard to keep our focus on the reason for the season. Does your family have some? I'd like to hear some of them.