This year I am determined to integrate more of the real spirit and meaning behind Christmas for our family. The kids are at ages (9,8 and 5) where they can participate in more meaningful conversations about the true reason we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ. I went to a Catholic church this past Sunday. I arrived about fifteen minutes before mass began. As I sat there praying, I felt my mind was cluttered and unable to focus on preparing my heart for church. I finally decided to mediate on one word, I chose, peace. I repeated that over and over and slowly felt my mind settling down and my prayers soon followed. The priest spoke during the homily about how Advent is about preparing ourselves for the second coming of Christ. He likened it to as the Bible says, "Christ will come again like a thief in the night." Upon first hearing this, my reaction was, "That doesn't sound fun." As I thought more about it, I considered the analogy for more than what it first appears. It won't be fun if Christ comes and I am not prepared, if my family is not prepared. If our hearts are not right with the Lord. If we are prepared I feel that it will seem more like a surprise visit from a long, lost friend. The kind where you wrap your arms around them and hug tightly thinking, "Oh, how I have missed you! I am so glad to see you!" but about a million times sweeter!
I purchased Ann Voskamp's family Advent devotional book for our family to read each night this month. It is a beautifully written book and I highly recommend it.
This year I want to instill in my children's hearts that God gave us the best gift we could ever receive, His son. That tiny baby, who came to make things right and offer all of us the greatest gift of everlasting life and peace.