Our fourth weekend of Advent was fully booked with gatherings with friends and family. One was relaxed and spontaneous. One had to be carefully orchestrated for weeks but was a rowdy, laughter-filled success. The last was a continuation of a new, warm family tradition. Together they formed the perfect launching pad for this final week of preparing our hearts for Christmas. The passage we read was simple and familiar:
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:8-14)
We are one sleep away from Christmas Eve, when it becomes officially too late to fuss and worry about lists and gifts and recipes. It's time to simply bear witness to the big deal that Christmas night actually was and commemorating it with a week-long love fest.
A second tree went up, adorned with every homemade and gift ornament we have collected over the years. The school art projects with glue still peeking out from the seams and photos in the middle never get old.
Below these branches are not the wrapped gifts. Only a bowl we are to fill in the coming days with notes of thanksgiving and petition.
We are also having a bit of a Secret Santa-type letter exchange. Reading over the fill-in-the-blank prompts at the dinner table last night had everyone's wheels turning.
There a few other little activities we will engage in, like finish off the sticky notes we didn't get to distribute. But this is it. We have arrived. He has arrived.
It's time to celebrate!