I have been blessed with time for contemplation this Advent, a luxury my pastor friends do not have in abundance. I am scheduled to preach again the Sunday after Christmas, a low Sunday (meaning there will be low attendance), and I need to get to work on my sermon as that time is fast approaching. But for now, I am grateful for time to contemplate the rich meaning of this season as once again we wait for the arrival of the Christ child, the incarnation, God with us. I think I have been focused more intently on baby Jesus this year because we have a new baby in our family again, our youngest grandson, born earlier this year. He is such a sweet baby that I have thought often about the Christmas carols singing baby Jesus’ praises, like “Away in a Manger” where “no crying he makes.”
We have also been blessed yet again by a change that grieved me at the time, but has turned out to be a blessing. Our sons decided several years ago that instead of drawing names at Christmas and buying unnecessary gifts for the adults in our family we should focus on the children. It was hard to give up buying Christmas presents for my sons after so many years, but now I am grateful for the extra time to spend breathing in this season rather than battling crowds at the mall. Grace sometimes comes in unusual form, and it can be hard to recognize initially. But I have been trying to practice gratitude more consciously, and that discipline has opened my eyes to the many blessings in my everyday life. I have learned that grace abounds, especially in this time of Advent.
Grace and Peace,