The holiday season is normally thought to begin at Thanksgiving and concludes with New years, with Christmas in between. Christmas to many means Christmas Eve and Christmas day with many previous days being devoted to shopping for gifts and preparing food. It’s during these days that we wish each other “Happy Holidays.” I would like to suggest that Christmas is much more than another holiday crunched in between two others. In fact I would say that Christmas is a season in and of itself, and Jesus is the reason for that season. Christmas is a time of joy and celebration and actually there are four celebrations during the Christmas Season and the reason we say “Merry Christmas.” Advent is the first of the four celebrations of Christmas. Advent refers to the promise of coming, not only to the first coming of Jesus as a babe in a manger, but also to the promise of His second coming as the Mighty King. Advent begins the fourth week before Christmas Sunday, usually the last Sunday of November or as happened this year the first Sunday of December. This first Sunday focuses on the promise and hope of His coming. “Come thou Long Expected Jesus” is a hymn often sung on this day. As He was expected when He came the first time, He is expected to fulfill the promise of His second coming. The second Sunday is that of preparation, a need to prepare our hearts and minds to receive His gift of redemption and contemplate the meaning of this to each person who will receive it. The third Sunday is that of rejoicing over this great gift and the fact that He came, leaving heaven to come and live as a man among men to show human kind the truth about God. The fourth Sunday focuses on love and adoration of the Savior of all who will accept Him. The advent wreath features four candles in a circle, one lit for each Sunday, with a fifth candle in the middle lit on Christmas eve to signify the birth of the Christ Child.
There are many versions of the advent wreath, this one features the Nativity which is why I like it.
All of this leads up to the second celebration of Christmas which is the eve and the day of Christmas. The night before Christmas is celebrated with family gatherings. When there is no one present except family a selfie saves the day, and when one family member is missing due to being in a different state, a face time phone call is just the ticket.
After dinner, a Christ mass which is the way Christmas was originally celebrated, or a Christmas Eve candle lighting worship service is enjoyed.
At home the tree is a delight and a wonder to the little ones.
And the gifts are waiting to bring delight and joy to everyone.
Christmas day for us is a flurry of visiting others and having guests in the evening. All surprises and secrets are revealed and the tree is devoid of the beauty of the wrapped presents, and the silence of Christmas night is upon us.
There are two more celebrations of Christmas, but that is for another day. Join me in the next couple of days for more of Christmas.
This one can’t wait to get his hands on the star cookie, an addition to the usual “Grandma cookies.”