Celebrating Advent

PrepareLast year, I started the Christmas season with great enthusiasm and declared this would be the best Christmas ever. I decided I would decorate my home from top to bottom, make twenty different kinds of cookies and have all of the gifts bought, wrapped and stored under the tree at least two weeks before Christmas.

About a week into the season, I found myself overwhelmed with these unrealistic intentions. My to-do list grew each day with last minute trips to crowded stores and preparing food for family gatherings. As Christmas day came closer, I started to panic. Will all of the gifts be bought in time? Will I have time to make all of those cookies? When will my husband bring the tree from the attic? What if my sister doesn’t like the gift I bought for her?

This time of the year is supposed to be a festive celebration in preparing and celebrating the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. So why do I always feel stressed, tired and overwhelmed? Do you feel this way too? Are your good intentions for celebrating the season buried among stress?

Take a step back and take a deep breath. This year my friend, take your focus off of these stressful things and look at the bigger picture. Last week may have been the official start of the busy holiday shopping season, but just two days after that, we entered into the season of advent.

The word “advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus” which means “coming.” It starts four weeks before Christmas and is a time for praying and preparing our hearts for the birth of Jesus and his return as King. Matthew 3:3 tells us:

This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”

You may be burdened with stress and the expectations that come with preparing for the holidays, but there is peace in knowing that advent brings the joy of expectation. This year, let’s celebrate the true meaning of Christmas – the birth and return of Jesus.

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