It's finally time. Finally time to break out the sparkly lights. To cue up Handel's Messiah, Johnny Cash's Personal Christmas Collection, and Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas (all three of which are my favorite Christmas albums, all three of which make me cry every year without fail). Time for coffee and gingerbread cookies for breakfast, without a trace of guilt.
But technically. . . it's not really Christmas now. It's Advent. A time to wait, and think, and hope. I'm kind of a curmudgeon in some ways. Every year I get more and more anxious about money and materialism and gift giving and what all that means. Every year I'm more and more convinced that it's not about presents or music or even Candy Cane Joe-Joes, as delicious as they may be. And don't get me wrong, I'm not discouraging any sugarplum visions. I currently have full virtual shopping carts littered all over the internet. There will most likely be more than one gift under the tree marked "To: Me, From: Me." And between the three cookie-eating members of our family, we've already gone through a whole box of those Joe-Joe's.
But I want to make sure that it's more than that too. More than just wordly things. I want Advent and Christmas for our family to mean growth, kindness, and peace. To be about waiting for the baby Jesus in the manger. And being like Mary who "treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart." So that's my hope for this Advent season.