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Monday, December 12, 2011

Advent to Christmas

I love the Christmas season. It starts right around Thanksgiving as the temperature gets cooler, and we put up the tree, then the lights start appearing on houses, the radios start with the Christmas music, and everything takes on a happy, surreal luster for me.

I love everything about it. From the shopping to the wrapping to the baking to the parties, but especially the reminders of Christ and the kindness that almost everyone seems to have.

I heard something on the radio the other day that made me pause and reflect, however. The guy talking said that we forget what this time period was actually like. In the days, months, and years leading up to the birth of Christ, people lived in a time of  fear, repression, and despair. There was little reason to rejoice.  It was a time of figurative darkness.

And then Christ was born, and with the appearance of that star in Bethlehem, a light came into the world. Both literally and figuratively.

To celebrate this, this used to be considered the advent season, or countdown to the birth of Christ. It wasn't a time of celebration, but a time of remembering the grave darkness that permeated the world. The days preceding Christmas were spent in quiet somberness with as little light as possible. And then on Christmas day, the lights came back, and the celebration began. For twelve days after Christmas, Christ's birth was celebrated.

Something about this felt so poignant to me. It shed a bit of a different "light" on my view of the Christmas season. While I'm not about to stop all my holiday festivities, we might "turn out the lights" for a few minutes with the children to help them really see what it meant when Christ was born. I get goosebumps when I think of the song "Silent Night." I'm glad we get an entire month to celebrate this occasion.

2 comments:

Julie Daines said...

Nice. I hate to see so much of the world slipping away from the true meaning of Christmas. They think the "meaning" of Christmas is to be nice to each other. And I guess that's part of it, but really, it's about Christ. So thanks for this.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

It's definitely the most awesome part of Christmas!

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