“Do you hear what I hear?”

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"Christmas. Advent. A humble birth. This is all part of the most wonderful story. A great story. Actually, the greatest story ever told. And this month, we get to tell, and listen to, that great story - all over again. A blessed Advent season to all!"

Here it is already. December 1st. A day to reflect on one thing only. Football? No. Shopping? No. I know - decorating. No, again. This is the first day of Advent. For people of faith, this is a very special day in the church year. It is a time of expectation. Of waiting. In a bit over three weeks, Christians all over the world will recognize and celebrate the most important day in world history. It was the day which changed everything, for everyone, for ever more.
Here is the irony of Advent. It is a time of year which is not just reserved for people in the church "club". For the saved. It is for everyone. It really is. The worthy and the not so worthy. For the Christian, the Jew, Muslims, Hindus, whatever - this is the time of year which lead up to the day which was a gift for ALL of mankind. Now what mankind does with that gift, is a different matter all together.
Somehow in the hubbub of the Christmas season, the real reason for the season gets lost. It happens every year. It seems the only thing in the universe which is faster than the speed of light, is how fast the time goes between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Every year we get busy doing whatever, then all of a sudden, Christmas Eve comes knocking at the door. Advent, is our sign post. It is our reminder. It reminds us that everything else we do in December is just "stuff". Preparing our hearts and minds for December 24th and 25th, should be keeping the main thing, the main thing.
Am I guilty of losing track of things in December? Of losing track of Advent? To this I plead "guilty". I try not too. And every year I pledge to do better. For if that wonderful day had not happened two thousand years ago, we would be living in a very bleak world right now. December would just be a dark, cold month, setting the stage for more of the same. Hope would be a word without meaning. But it did happen. Jesus, the Savior of the world, was born. Hope does have meaning beyond all understanding.
For those who burn candle(s) during Advent, it starts today. Today we forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Lamb of God. But Advent also has another side to the story. It is also the period of waiting for Jesus to return. Only this time, Jesus will come back not as the Lamb of God, but rather the Lion of Judah. For believers, that will be a most wonderful day. For evil does, not so much.
Christmas. Advent. A humble birth. This is all part of the most wonderful story. A great story. Actually, the greatest story ever told. And this month, we get to tell, and listen to, that great story - all over again. A blessed Advent season to all!