Celebrating is something we all do especially at this time of year, Advent-The Christmas Story. Tonight, I spent time with my Aunt, her two daughters and two of her granddaughters; we wrapped Christmas gifts for her ever-growing family. I believe we counted 15 grandkids under the age of 10(?) then there’s my aunts 5 kids/spouses and then the grandkids over the age of 10! Let’s just say, family gatherings are large! In my opinion, it’s BEAUTIFUL! If there’s a single thing I am most proud of it is “FAMILY!” I have been so fortunate to have strong God-fearing relatives (most especially strong women) that set a very high bar of integrity before me. Spending time with my Aunt is always a wonderful time for me, she has been a constant family support my whole life. She is my mom’s baby sister and was always very close to my mom. I have to pause life every once in a while and reflect upon just how “BLESSED” I am! As some of you might remember, my mom passed away in 2012 and as time goes on I miss my mom terribly and when I have the opportunity to spend time with relatives like tonight, I can almost sense her in our midst as we laugh, tell old stories and share memories while making new ones. My aunt is much like a second mom, she has scolded me more than once and I’m pretty sure she swatted my back side a time or two. We have laughed and cried together and I am so proud to be a part of the rich tapestry, I call family. It was important for me to share this story with you so that I could better explain the title of this piece. As I was driving home tonight (an hour drive) I had a lot of quiet time to reflect on the evening and about Christmas and the celebration of Advent. Of course, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” I found myself thinking about Mary and all the things that were happening to her and I thought Mary would have been having all the same kind of wishes and dreams that all mothers have concerning their children. Mary, experienced all the emotions that we celebrate during Advent.
Hope-for a happy future for her baby.
Peace-for in the life of her baby.
Joy-for all the days to be filled with joy for her baby.
Peace-enormous prosperity and calmness in the life of her baby.
Basically, mom’s want the very best for their children and for their children to learn more, attain more, to have more of every good thing in life, to have more opportunities than were available to them.
For the record, I am not a mom and in a way I’m just theorizing on the “feelings” of motherhood. I was very close to my mom and had engaged in a few “mother/daughter bonding” conversations over the years. From my perspective, parents make huge sacrifices for their children, God did the same when He gave His only Son to pay the price for all the sins of humanity. My thoughts go to Mary, she was given the gift of motherhood, a challenging responsibility and she had hopes and dreams for Jesus and not one was to be crucified, yet that is exactly what happened. Sure, Jesus grew into manhood but He was also Mary’s son, her little boy. Her heart, she found favor in God true enough and her heart was created to love Jesus like no other woman could. Mary had extraordinary strength and she listened, trusted and followed the instructions from God. There’s nothing that compares to the Love of God! Just as there’s nothing quite like the love between a child and their mother. My prayer for you is that the Love of God fill you to overflowing to overwhelming as you experience Advent in a new and exciting way this year.
Below is copied from: https://www.liturgylink.net/2014/11/11/advent-candles-hope-peace-joy-love/
The first week of Advent (December 3rd) is all about Hope.
Think about hope as you hear Lamentations 3: 21-24:
“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
God’s mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in the Lord.”
Prayer: Gracious God, As the Advent season begins, we cry out to you. We come to you looking for hope. When everything else we rely on fails us, our only hope is in you. When we do not understand what has happened, we hope in you. We can hope for better days because we trust you. We know you and we know you are here with us no matter what we are facing. Some of us see only darkness this time of year. Some of us find life overwhelming. Some of us are filled with Advent joy. Wherever we find ourselves today, Loving God, remind us that our hope is in you. Be with us on this journey. Amen.
For the second week in Advent (December 10th), we focus on Peace.
In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
Prayer: Prince of Peace, reveal yourself to us today. We need peace in our lives, our homes, our families, our church, and our whole world. Help us to slow down and seek out the peace you provide, so we may become peacemakers for ourselves and others. In your name, Prince of Peace, we pray. Amen.
During the third week in Advent (December 17th), we spend time thinking about Joy.
From Psalm 5:11, we hear these words,“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.”
Prayer: Too often, we think joy is something big, O God. A brass band or a parade can certainly bring us joy. Just as easily and far more often, we can feel joy in a hug or the squeeze of hand, we can see joy in a smile or hear it in laughter. Help us to not overlook the simple joys that peak into our lives daily. This week in our Advent journey, open our eyes to the joy that surrounds us. Amen.
In this final week of Advent (December 24th), our attention is on Love. The following Scripture verses may sound very familiar, so we will hear them twice. The first time is in the New Revised Standard Version. The second time you’ll be reading from the Message. Listen for the call to love in these words.
Matthew 22:36-40 says, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
”Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
Prayer: God, we have learned to love from being loved by you. And so today, let us enact that love. Let us live that love. We know that what the world needs now is more love. We need to remember how much you love each one of us and we must share that love with others. Amen.
More to share look for a Christmas Day posting…
Luke 2:1-20 -https://www.biblegateway.com/
~Blessings and Peace~