I am sure that just as many of you, Christmas is a very special time of year. I look forward to time with family and friends eating, laughing, opening gifts, and enjoying each other. As I've matured as a Christian, I can say that although those things are important, they are no longer why I now anticipate this time of year. I am excited to celebrate Advent as we lead up to Christmas Day. Advent is the expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ and His return at the Second Coming. We are all excitedly waiting the second coming of our Savior. I began to celebrate Advent last year with a Jesse Tree-journeying through the stories on Jesus's family tree. Each day of Advent, we read a Bible story about someone on Jesus's family tree and hang an ornament symbolizing the story on the Jesse Tree. This year, I have added the Advent wreath to our celebration. I am excited when we light the candles that represent: Hope-which reminds us of the hope we have in Jesus; Peace-we find peace in Jesus in all circumstances of life; Joy-Jesus brigs us joy and as we praise and rejoice in Him; and Love-God loves us so much that He gave His only Son as a ransom for our sins. Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love are like lights that shine in darkness. During Advent and throughout the year, we celebrate the hope, peace, joy, and love that we find in Jesus. The Jesse Tree and Advent Wreath are new Christmas traditions for my son and me. They are just as important as decorating the Christmas tree and sharing a Christmas meal. I want him to always remember that Christmas is not just about gifts. Although we all love to receive gifts, and we are happy when we can gift and bless others, we need never to forget that Jesus is the reason for the season. For it is He who has given the most precious gift of all-eternal life.
Happy Advent and Merry Christmas.