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Unwrapping the meaning of Advent in the Morris family’s early Christmas spirit

This year, the Morris family broke an important tradition. Under normal circumstances, we decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a big deal for our family. We listen to Christmas music, enjoy some holiday treats and watch a favorite Christmas movie after we’ve finished our decorating.

However, this year was different. We decorated the house before Thanksgiving! To be honest, I have mixed feelings. While it’s fun to have the decorations spread throughout the house, it feels like we’ve joined the movement to rush through the flow of the holidays. I’m a mixed bag of “fa-la-la-la-la’s” and “bah humbugs!”

While drinking my coffee this morning, I noticed one of my favorite ornaments on the tree. It’s a “tin man” that has a string one can pull, causing its arms and legs to move around. I’ve had this ornament as long as I can remember. Since I was a small child, I’ve been the one to hang this ornament on the tree. Gazing upon that little ornament, memories of family, friends and past Christmas celebrations danced in my head.

Contemplating these memories, I recognized that I’m still a mixed bag … only this time the bag contains both joy and sorrow. Joy for the wonderful, heart-warming memories of loved ones and sorrow for those who are no longer with us.

So, I enter this Advent season as a mixed bag. For some reason, that just makes sense. Many of us enter this season with hearts full of joy and wonder. Others enter this season with heavy burdens and grief. Some of us decorate before Thanksgiving, some after, and some don’t decorate at all!

However, we enter the season, we remember that Advent is a season of preparation for the coming of our King. Advent is a season that reminds us that God is with us and for us. Will Willimon wrote, “In Advent, we celebrate and anticipate the earth-shaking, life-transforming news that God is coming to us. Watch out. Get ready. God is on the way.”

This Advent season, we will journey towards Christmas, engaging with the story surrounding the birth of Jesus through a worship series called “Heaven and Earth: Advent and the Incarnation.” Throughout this series, we will be encouraged to discover the love, hope, joy and peace that is found in Jesus, the newborn King.