Our King and Savior draws near: Come let us adore him!

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As I write this, I am sitting in the holy silence of the early morning, well before the sunrise. I am in my mother-in-law’s home in Dothan and everybody is still asleep. After a joyful Thanksgiving Day full of family, food, fellowship, and football, the solitude and silence this morning brings me a much more subdued gratitude than I felt yesterday.

Meanwhile, folks all over the country are lining up outside the doors of big box stores for Black Friday shopping – some have been camping out all night in the parking lot. The season of hopeful expectation is embodied in many different ways.

When the Black Friday frenzy subsides, soon to follow will be the pleads from many Christians for our country to “keep Christ in Christmas” as they lament the ever-increasing use of the h-word: holiday parties; Holiday trees; Happy Holidays! The “War on Christmas” actually started early this year with the whole Starbucks cup kerfuffle.

But as Christians, I believe that the best way for us to “keep Christ in Christmas” is to celebrate the holy season of Advent. It is not Christmas yet – and the twelve-day season of Christmas won’t begin until December 25. The wisdom of our Church tradition tells us that we must prepare our hearts and minds with steadfast prayer, fasting, and other ways of intentional being before we encounter Christ in the nativity and in his Second Coming.

So this Advent season, I encourage each of us to consider ways to slow down and embrace the Church’s call for us to prepare for the coming of Christ. The month of December doesn’t have to be a month of frenetic anxiety. Rise above (or below) the noise, the chaos, the rhetoric, and the anxiety. Take some time to be still in the presence of God as well as the people who are most dear to you. Our Psalm this Sunday (Psalm 25) contains a wonderful prayer that can be used as an Advent devotion:

Show me your ways, O LORD, *
and teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth and teach me, *
for you are the God of my salvation;
in you have I trusted all the day long.

See you Sunday!

Richard+

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