When our children were young, the Sears Christmas catalog was an extreme dream generator. Within a week the pages were dog eared and our son had marked every gift he desired with an “X”. “Who will get all of those things for you,” his mother asked. “Santa” he confidently responded.
It was then that we realized that we cannot have Christmas without Advent. We counted down the days with various Advent calendars. The children enjoyed having a hand in making our own Advent Wreath and participating in the candle ceremonies. We found this beautiful little book that told the story about St. Nicholas, and we celebrated his feast day on December 6th. The children hung their stockings and anticipated the trinkets and little keepsakes found in them as much as the larger gifts at Christmas.
It seemed that each day methodically brought us closer to the joy of Christmas. When the Apollo spacecraft touched down on the lunar surface, there was an outburst of joy in the control room. Everyone knew that one small miscalculation and the craft would have shot past the moon’s gravity and out into space.
When Jesus made his cosmic journey to earth, it too was fraught with peril. The devil hurled what he could to destroy God’s mission of love. After days of preparation in Advent, we understood what it meant when the first little whimper rose from Bethlehem’s manger. Mission Accomplished! God’s love has come to earth in this baby called Jesus. The Halls of heaven could hardly contain the joy as the angels sang out and as we made our way to the Christmas Eve service, we were ready to join their chorus.