We didn't do Advent on Sunday; our Sunday was just too busy. But certainly this week, of all weeks, we needed to gather together to reflect and pray. So we celebrated tonight. Our children are blissfully ignorant of the tragedies that struck so nearby. We are holding them extra close, and using Christmas as our excuse.
Here is what I've learned from doing this Advent series for the first time... Dessert and little presents are great incentives for my kids to sit still and listen for a few minutes. Lily cannot resist blowing out the candles. (We had to relight them 3 times tonight!) Daniel will listen and slowly digest this new information. His questions don't come that night but in the days following. My personal theology has gotten real workout this way. Nothing like having to answer, "Mommy, why did they kill Jesus?" during the morning commute!
This week's advent was blessed by our favorite Auntie's apple pie. We also unwrapped our beautiful Ethiopian nativity set, which was purchased after an epic, multi-party bargaining session in Addis Ababa.
Here is to celebrating love in the midst of fear. Here is to welcoming light in a time of darkness. I hope all of you enjoy a beautiful final Advent week.
for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also
Our lighted candle is glowing,
making the darkness bright;
shining on our family gathered here tonight.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with oil. my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
This week we are talking about Love (yes, yucky, icky, LOOOOVE). The reading is a reminder of the strength of God's love for us. Jesus teaches us that everyone in the world deserves to be loved. He teaches that even when we are feeling lonely and sad, God loves us. Jesus wanted everyone to love each other, even when we were feeling angry, sad, upset or alone. He wanted us to make sure that Love was the strongest feeling in our hearts. At Christmas time we give each other presents to remind each other that we love each other. We send out pretty cards to everyone we know, so share our love with our friends and family. Christmas is a time when we try to remind everyone that we care about them. Sometimes it can be hard to remember love. It can be hard to feel Mommy's love when she is yelling. It can be hard to feel Daddy's love when he is upset with us. It can be hard to feel each other's love when we are fighting. That is why we are stopping here to remember our love for each other, and God's love for each of us.
Here is your ornament for 2012! Every year we find a special ornament that represents something you love. We will save these ornaments for you until you are grown up, so you will be able to decorate your own Christmas trees. You will be able to cover them with beautiful things that you love, and be reminded of happy times. We love you both, very much.
Be born in our unready hearts
On this silent and holy night.
We give thanks for Being,
We give thanks for being here
We give thanks for being here together.