First - we celebrate Advent. That means we follow the church calendar, and we use the idea of what I like to call "Sacred Rhythms" to shape our emphasis and to line ourselves up in the right direction, so we don't rush headlong into December via the commercial gods and miss the coming of Jesus by a mile.
Second (and more properly understood as a sub-point to the whole "Advent" celebration) we begin - prayerfully and carefully - to decorate our home with accents that point to the coming of the King.
Third, and just for fun, we give Kelly and Tim Black (primarily, Kelly) our traditional "hideous Christmas-tree ornament". (That's the picture, with Micah).
This special ritual started way back, with an accidental "gaudy ornament" Tim bought home from a gift exchange (see In My Heart I Carry A Star for details). Ever since - and I believe it's six Christmases and counting - Rebekah and I have searched high and low for just the wrong ornament. We have certain well thought out standards, and we'd like to think that - one day - Kelly will have the best and most complete set of gaudy, hideous, tasteless ornaments in the known world. It's our way of saying "We love you"!
So it's Advent 210, and we're off and running. This week's emphasis is "Hope". Hope is a good word, but it can be fairly empty without the substance of an ongoing relationship with God to back it up.
- Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:1-3)
May you know that kind of hope, and most especially when it's not so easily visible - DEREK