...and that's a wrap - on Thanksgiving.
It was simple. Just the 5 of us. And we broke out the good china. (Caroline wondered when we got it; ah, yeah, that would be nearly 20 years ago when Scott and I got married!)
It was yummy, oh so yummy, and we were all so.very.grateful. For the fact that Mommy was home and healing, that we have a warm and cozy roof over our heads, and the blessings of wonderful family and friends who have helped us through the last 11 difficult months.
And then there was Black Friday. And we stayed in. Had our traditional lunch with Aunt Ginny, Aunt Michelle and my Mom (my Dad always goes hunting) and did a little online shopping...ON FRIDAY...NOT ON THANKSGIVING. I have serious issues with that...open at midnight, but not on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is for family and counting blessings...and football, parades and holiday movies.
And today, there was a turn of the calendar, Christmas music on the radio and the boxes of decorations came down from the attic. Andrew marched in the town's Christmas Parade and we have entered the season of Advent.
definition: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
defined in the Christian calendar: the first season of the church year, a period of preparation for the birth of Jesus. Advent begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30 and continues until Christmas. Viewed as a penitential season, it is also considered a time of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. The origin of Advent is unknown, but it was observed as early as the 6th century. In many countries it is celebrated with popular customs such as the lighting of Advent candles.
While Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season to many with the hustle bustle and urgency of shopping, today, Sunday, December 1, marks the beginning of the Advent season for 2013. It is a time for our family to prepare our hearts and minds on the gift of Christ and his second coming. Sure we partake in the sights and sounds of the season: the baking, the decorating, the giving and receiving, the elf, the sparkles and twinkles, but at the heart of that celebration is the babe in the manger and a promise for peace, love and eternal life.
The first week of advent is traditionally known as the week of HOPE. A purple candle is lit on the advent wreath and this candle is also known as the Prophecy Candle. It reminds Christians that we have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises He made to us.
“And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:12-13)
definition: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen
While the Advent season is celebrated by Christians, certainly a week of hope is something to be shared by all faiths and beneficial to everyone.
My hopes for this week of advent are:
- That people are more intentional in their actions (or inactions) toward others.
- That we are more appreciative of the love we share. Remember the saying, “love is not love until you give it away”…love on someone today by giving something…doesn’t have to be grand, just a small gesture really.
- That we pause to remember the greatest gifts we are about to receive have nothing to do with the dollars spent in a store or online, but are the ones surrounding us at all times, in good and bad…family and friends and the love of God.
The first day of Advent also marks the arrival of Santa’s elf, Cocoa, in the McD home. Cocoa is a fun little elf who doesn’t create bad mischief, but gets into a little of silly situations. He usually goes home on December 24. This year, he brought an elf advent calendar with him. The littlest McD was thrilled to see his return after she came home from church and has written bunches of love letters to him already.
So fun to begin the season of wonder, excitement and anticipation with a mix of faith, family traditions and meaningful moments. Afterall, CHRISTmas is about Jesus Christ, and if you can't remember to keep and reflect on CHRIST in Christmas, then exactly why are you celebrating the holiday? Certainly, there is more to life than gifts and cookies. Thanksgiving, followed by the month of Advent are good seasons to reflect on our miracles and blessings as we trim our homes, drink hot cocoa and enjoy peppermint sticks.