Last week we headed to my parents’ house along with 12 other people. We all celebrated Thanksgiving Day with a load of food. I brought sweet potato casserole and Elissa brought her yummy green bean casserole. We’re pretty classic with our Thanksgiving, nothing too fancy, all the dishes the same every year.
But my new favorite dish was a cranberry relish courtesy of my mother-in-law. Since my in-laws from South Carolina were in town for the week, we took the week off and showed them the sights of Colorado and the scenic trails that we hike regularly. Earlier this year I made the mistake of assuring my mother-in-law that we’d certainly have snow during Thanksgiving week. Yet we ended up with 60-degree weather.
Spending a week with family made me freshly thankful for the blessings I have. If all of us stop long enough to really contemplate how much we’re blessed, we will be pouring out thankfulness to God. The automatic response is praise.
You don’t need much stuff to feel blessed. I remember visiting El Salvador and meeting Christians with overflowing joy. Yet they didn’t have the material possessions we have.
As I’m writing this, the Christmas season is in full swing. Every other commercial is selling the best gift to stick under the tree. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the sights and smells of Christmas, treating it like a national holiday or a big event to get ready for. I love having people over and going to parties. But this isn’t Christmas.
I looked up the word “Advent” to see what it meant. I had heard the word so many times in church but I really didn’t feel the impact.
Advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming“) is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.
I have to confess that my expectancy is normally about the feeling when Christmas Day comes around and I celebrate with family, food and gift giving. Yet, that’s not the main point of Advent. It’s a spiritual journey, expectantly waiting, so that with each day I grow closer to Christ through the miracle and revelation of His first coming.
And the expectancy shouldn’t end the night of December 25th. We still wait in anticipation for the second coming of Christ, keeping our eyes on Him as we ring in another year, make our plans, and walk out the next 365 days.