This past Sunday was the beginning of Advent.  I attended one of the local churches "Hanging of the Greens" service that evening.  This service is the traditional adorning of the sanctuary with the time honored symbols of the Christian Christmas season.  The change in the liturgical calendar is celebrated with the preparation for the coming celebration of the birth of Jesus.  

Though not a Biblical tradition, this service is a beautiful observance of preparing our hearts for the remembrance of God's great gift to mankind all those long Christmases ago.

Mr. Webster tells us Advent is the anticipation of the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.  We are waiting for the day of celebration.  For four Sunday's leading up to Christmas day, we are patiently waiting for the day when we finally have the BIG PARTY to commemorate His birth.

FINALLY, after all the fanfare, all the carols, all the pot luck suppers, all the anticipation, we light the final candle on the Advent Wreath--the Christ Candle and the day we have anticipated and hoped for has finally come.  Our inpatient~patient waiting has been rewarded with the beauty of what many consider the best day of the year.

Advent is all about the birth of a baby.  As I thought this over, in the deep dark of the early morning hours today, I remembered the great anticipation I felt when my own three children were born.  I remembered the waiting for the birth of each baby.  I remembered the growing discomfort of the final days of pregnancy and becoming inpatient for an end to nine long months of waiting.  I remembered, after long hours of labor, those final great pushes to bring a new baby in the world.  I remembered how my life was forever altered with each and every birth.  I remembered holding that sweet~precious baby for the first time.  I remembered the beginning of a deep abiding love for a child which has never faltered and instead grown deeper with each decade.  I remembered three of the greatest blessings God has even given me after long months of waiting.  I remembered how my life was forever changed and altered with the birth of a baby.

As we continue our trek through this Advent season, my prayer is we all will remember how our lives were forever altered ~ forever changed with the birth of that Baby all those years ago.  With His birth, hope was rained down upon us and the world was given the King of All Kings.  Christ was born that day after centuries of anticipation and now we celebrate God's Gift to man each and every Christmas.  

May your Advent be filled with the wonder of waiting--knowing the day is coming, your prayers are answered, and Christ did live among us.  May you remember as we wait to celebrate His birth, this began a new day for mankind when He was born those long years ago.  May you remember and be thankful for the journey to the cross that was begun all those years ago with His birth.  May you experience glorious and wonder filled days of remembrance this Advent Season.

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 
2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD— 
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 
5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 
6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 
7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. 
9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORDas the waters cover the sea. 
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
Isaiah 40: 1-10

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