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**This post originally kicked off a 4 weeks series on the themes of Advent in 2019. Click on the links to visit the rest of 2019 Advent series:

- Hope

- Love

- Joy

This Sunday kicks off the season of Advent. It is honestly a season I don’t remember doing much with as a child. For me, it was all about the countdown to Christmas. The aspect of waiting and anticipating the birth of Christ, of God taking on human flesh and becoming one of us, it was a bit lost on me.

In my college years I discovered a book by popular author Max Lucado entitled, “God Came Near.” For the first time I caught a glimpse of just how remarkable the birth of Christ really was. And how holding tightly onto our human assumptions of how God should work in the world caused so many to miss the birth of the long awaited Messiah. During those years I also dove into understanding what liturgy was all about, an especially interesting mystery for me as I grew up in a church which did not use the liturgical seasons during worship.

Advent became a rather meaningful season to me during those years. Rather than focusing just on the gift buying, candy making, travel planning preparations of celebrating Christmas, I began to focus more on preparing my heart to truly marvel at the miracle of Christmas.

As we move towards Advent this year, each week will feature a post focusing the 4 themes of Advent: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.

HOPE – Hope is the power of faith at work. It is a belief we are preparing for something yet to come. Hope is where we start while faith carries us the rest of the way. During Advent we are reminded of the hope many held for generations to see the birth of the Messiah and the hope of our time to see Christ come again.

LOVE – The impulse to give, to share love with one another, is something which gives evidence to being created in the image and likeness of God who is Love. From the giving of things, to the giving of our time and service, it is the intention behind a gift which makes receiving it meaningful. It is the intention of the gift which shows our love for one another. In giving us the gift of His Son, God has shown his great love for each and every one of us.

JOY –Christmas parties, celebrating long held and cherished traditions, and gathering with loved ones all can make it easy to feel joy during the holiday season. We are reminded that joy is meant to be shared with others as we connect with those near and far to celebrate another Christmas season.

PEACE – Ultimately, the peace we find in Christ is the lasting peace we are all looking for. Because of the miracle of Christ’s birth, we can know our God is near, not distant. Jesus grows up to show us what life lived fully embracing the peace of God looks like in this world. It looks like always trusting in God and following His plan, even when His plan seems unclear and we can’t begin to understand it.

So we hope you’ll enjoy what is ahead of us in these next 4 weeks as we anticipate and prepare our hearts for Christmas.

One more thing, we hope you’ll check out our special post with ideas and resources for making Advent more meaningful for you and your family


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