Tuesday, November 29, 2011


My house is a mix of boxes, decorations, an unadorned tree and furniture being moved.  Yes, it is that time of year when we pull out those glittery balls, tinsel, candles and wreaths!  I absolutely LOVE this time of year!  I have so much fun decorating (although I admit it was much more fun when the kids were little and helping me....Bing Crosby crooning in the background "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas"....egg nog passed around, candy cane stains ringing round the mouths of the little ones.....and the tree looking like we all had a hand in decorating it...all those hand-made ornaments, stories with each one!  I loved it!  Years of memories!)  It's still fun, but usually I end up being the decorating queen as school, work and events keep others pretty busy at this time.  Although I couldn't do the tree without my partner-in-design daughter who keeps me in line as to how many lights and where the proper ornament should hang. Her word is final when it comes to the tree :)  Love it!

Yesterday when I was pulling out ornaments, I was on a mission...finding my Advent wreath. With the first Advent Sunday behind me, I had to find it so it would be ready for next Sunday.  This bit of symbolic meaning holds a place in my heart like no other decor.  I attribute this to my years in Europe.  Even though we here in America don't put as much emphasis on it as in Europe, I still like to have it sitting on the table - it stirs memories and reflection and hope in my heart.

Advent wreaths take on all manner of appearances (greenery, wood, metal) and have changed over the years, even the colors of the candles changing).  Traditionally the wreath is round (of course!) and greenery woven throughout.  The circle represents God's eternal being, Himself, without beginning or end.  His endless mercy.  The green symbolizes hope of renewal and newness of eternal life in Him.  

The candles are traditionally three purple (some churches have changed them to blue to distinguish from the purple of Lent) and one pink, with a white candle in the center.  The first purple one lit (last Sunday) represents Expectation or Hope....in the advent or coming of Christ.  Purple for royalty, repentance and a changed life.  The first candle lit also speaks of prophecy of the coming King.  An additional candle is lit each Sunday, the pink one being lit on the third Sunday to represent JOY.  The progression of the candle lighting represents the Light of the world and lighting our way in the anticipation of the Advent of Christ.

This week is a meditation on our repentance, His redemption and appearance as our Savior.  Take some time this week to process the significance of repentance (is there something we need to ask for forgiveness for....a changed life means that....not just feeling sorry or bad, but actually turning away from the act, behavior, attitude....asking God for forgiveness and living a different way...with God's grace).  Reflect on the truth that He has already come, paid the price and offers us eternal life, hope, reconciliation with our God who loves us so much!  

I will never forget my first Christmas as a true believer in Jesus Christ.  The entire season took on a new and personal meaning for me.  In the middle of the festivities, parties, frivolity and presents stood the Savior of my soul.  As we like to say...the REAL REASON FOR THE SEASON :)  I never want to lose that incredible overtaking of my heart and emotions as I celebrate the birth of my King.

As we close out November and move into the last month of 2011....anticipate the Advent of the King of kings, the baby born King, the HOPE of ALL NATIONS. Even if you don't have a wreath, light a symbolic candle and reflect on the Light of the World who lights our way, forgives our sins, and gives us a future.  In one word....ANTICIPATE!

Oh, and by the way...here is my Advent wreath....my mom bought this for me years ago....not your "traditional" wreath, but symbolic in character :)

Yes, the gang's all here....three kings, a shepherd, an angel, Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.  Like I said, not your traditional Advent wreath, but unique and a conversational piece all the same!  


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