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Advent is a time of anticipation 

For those who haven’t celebrated Advent before, Advent means the arrival of a notable person or thing. It takes place the four weeks, traditionally on Sundays, leading up to Christmas Day and while the month before Christmas can be full of parties, good food, shopping, and programs, celebrating Advent can help to keep the busy month focused and meaningful. I think this is why, year after year, I feel the tug to celebrate and incorporate something...a devotional, some Scripture, several minutes of slowing down...to join the saints from long ago, to remember and recall the long-awaited arrival of our newborn Savior as well as to anticipate the arrival of our returning King. If you feel those tugs as well, I invite you to join me to celebrate Christ and observe Advent, this Christmas season. 

Traditionally, people have created a wreath containing five candles; one to light each of the four Sundays, leading up to Christmas, and the fifth candle to light on Christmas Eve or Day. You may choose to do the candle lighting, if you’d like; for me, it is a symbol of intentionally slowing down my day to set aside this brief time, for focus and reflection. On week one, you light the first candle. On week two, you light the candle from the previous week as well as a second one. On week three, you light the two candles from the previous week as well as a third one...and so on, until all five candles are lit. 

If you have children, and as you light each candle (if applicable), feel free to take a moment and ask them what the theme was for each week. Repetition and remembrance are good things. 

The last devotional can be read, and the final candle lit, on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, if you choose. Or you may choose to light the candles and simply read the Christmas passages, in lieu of the prepared devotion. If you do so, here is some recommended passages: Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:16-25, Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-12 

Lastly, I invite you to begin each devotional with a brief prayer, asking the Spirit to still and focus your mind, helping you to experience a Christ-centered anticipation, in this special time of the year. He will hear you and he will respond!