We had a good trip to Alabama to visit Lori’s parents for Thanksgiving and take in the Iron Bowl the day afterward. It was a very emotional and exciting time for a lot of reasons, and even though it’s a long drive there and back we’re glad we could work it out.

It looks like there was only a brief hiccup between THanksgiving and Christmas. I find myself almost out of breath, spiritually speaking, in trying to catch up with all the events of the season. The tree is up in the church and the sanctuary is beautifully decorated in recognition and preparation of the Advent season. I am glad our church recognizes the significance of the times so that we can soak up the religious atmosphere of the occasion.

Advent means a lot of different things, but for me it is a time to pause and reflect upon the meaning of the incarnation. The mind boggling idea that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” can’t be appreciated in just one day. This spiritual truth is so integral to the Christmas season, and I for one find it implausible that there are many persons who acknowledge the holiday without the spiritual significance. You might say that there are “many who have Christmas, but not everyone gets Christmas.”

My desire for myself and family and then for the church family is that Advent will be time of preparation and earnest searching about what Christ means to each one of us. This year’s Christmas season comes after a very difficult year and a ten year period that Time magazine called “The Decade from Hell.” There will be many people who will not be sad to see this year or decade pass, but before this happens we ought to stop and take spiritual inventory of what has happened and how these events have shaped us.

Advent offers this opportunity. It will require some slowing down and reflection, but I for one believe this opportunity for renewal couldn’t have come at a better time. Join me in praying for our hearts to be open to the Holy Spirit’s leadership and prompting as we approach the manger once again.