It happens every year. Do-dahs placed where nothing used to be become knock-me-over magnets, open boxes of decorations with their pointy little corners bump and hurt me and I inevitably seem to burn myself roasting a turkey or baking a batch of cookies. Mysterious bruises appear on my body; usually in just the right spot to force a re-think of the holiday dress I’d planned to wear on Christmas Eve and the ever-so-attractive bandage on my fingertip looks as if I’m trying to hide a broken nail.
I may be a bit physically clumsy throughout the holiday season, but there’s one thing I’m not guilty of and that is being spiritually clumsy. Don’t get me wrong here. I will be the first to admit I’m no angel when it comes to keeping up with daily devotions, especially during the holidays, and I’m ashamed to admit it, but rather than silently humming, “peace on earth goodwill toward men” when the lines are long at the UPS store, I’m more likely to engage in snarky thoughts like, “What is this? National Mail-A-Package Day?”
It is easy to become spiritually clumsy amid all the hustle-bustle, tinsel, colors, music, fun and food of Christmas and become so focused on lesser gifts that we trip and stumble over the most important gift of all… God’s love and presence with us.
We forget that the baby in the manger, Whose birth made a star stop in the heavens and stay above the place where He lay, grew to be a man and, while talking to a group of people who had gathered to hear Him, explained why God sent Him to earth. Jesus said, “God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” That is the purpose of Christmas and that’s something to celebrate!
Most everyone knows “Black Friday” is the day after Thanksgiving and marks the beginning of the Christmas rush. What everyone may not know is the Sunday after Black Friday is also the beginning of what is traditionally known by Christians as the Season of Advent that runs for the four weeks before Christmas and ends on Christmas day.
A visual that helps me stay balanced, centered and focused on the wonderful, amazing, awesome good news of Christmas is a special decoration used during this time called and Advent Wreath.
Our wreath is made of a simple circle of evergreens with four candles surrounding another candle placed in the center. The color of the candles doesn’t really matter; but our family uses three purple candles for the first three weeks of Advent to signify the royalty of Christ, a pink candle for the fourth Sunday to mark the coming dawn of Christmas day when Jesus, The Light of The World was born to drive the darkness of sin away. Then, on Christmas morning, we light the Christ Candle – the white candle in the center of the wreath – and remember Whose birthday it is we are celebrating.
Lighting of the Advent Wreath:
Sunday, November 29: 1st candle – (purple) THE PROPHECY CANDLE: God is faithful and will keep the promises He had made to us. The number of prophecies surrounding the birth of Christ and the astronomical probability of each prophecy being fulfilled cannot be denied.
Sunday, December 6th: 2nd candle – (purple) THE BETHLEHEM CANDLE: God’s Son, our Savior, was born in a lowly manger in the little town of Bethlehem – not in the city of Jerusalem, not in the splendor of a palace and not into a position of political power. His birth was for His death… and His death was for our birth!
Sunday, December 13th: 3rd candle – (purple ) THE SHEPHERD CANDLE : Common shepherds, probably children living out in the fields keeping watch over their flocks at night, were the first to hear and then share the good news of our Savior’s birth.
Sunday, December 20th: 4th candle – (pink) THE ANGEL CANDLE: Angels are seen and heard throughout the story of Christ’s birth from delivering the message to the Virgin Mary that she would be blessed among women as the mother of God. Later, on the night of Christ’s birth they appeared in the heavens singing a song of joy to the world and assisted in God’s supernatural protection from those who sought to kill Him as an infant.
Christmas Day – Friday, December 25th:
Friday, December 25: 5th candle – (white) THE CHRIST CANDLE – This is Jesus’ birthday candle. It is white to remind us that Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins!
Why not add the tradition of an Advent Wreath to your holiday celebrations this year? It just might help you be less spiritually clumsy too.
Take Care and Have a Peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving!