Happy New Year!

I know most people will think I’m a month early, but I’m not.  Today is the last day of the liturgical (church calendar) year, and tomorrow marks the beginning of a new one.  Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent, the month-long preparation for Christmas.  I am excited.  I love Advent.  If I have to pick one time of year that is my favorite, this is it.  Beginning preparations for Christmas means more than just shopping and presents – So much more!  It is hard for me to explain, so I hope you already know what I mean – it is preparing our hearts for the Amazing Gift that we remember and celebrate on Christmas.  It’s like the winter – the cold and snow are sweeping the earth clean.  You know how pristine everything looks when you’ve woken to a fresh snowfall!  How clear and bright the sky and the stars are in the night!  There are sparkling lights everywhere – and where there is Light, there cannot be Darkness.  People are kinder – there is a cheerfulness, an air of expectation, a lightness of spirit.  Whether we recognize it or not, hearts are softer.  Preparing for the joy of Christmas.

I enjoy church and worship most of the year, but the readings and hymns for Advent, these four Sundays before Christmas are especially dear to me and they culminate with my most favorite day of the year.  I know, I know…you’re thinking Christmas Day.  But my very favorite day is actually Christmas Eve.  2 or 3 services of devotion, beautiful music and candlelight.  For years, and truthfully, even now, I get confused when people mention that Christmas is the 25th, because for me, it has always been the 24th.  For me, this is Christmas – worshiping and recognizing this most Amazing Gift in the person of Christ.

So Happy New Year!  May God bless you in abundance, and may you see and feel His Love in your life as you prepare for Christmas this year.

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