It's that time of year...

Yep. It's getting closer... My sister is that person who starts to play Christmas songs November 1. She is already bugging Dana about putting up the lights, and I can all but guarantee that she will be driving her coworkers nuts within a week. It's cute actually. Mandy has always been that way-- it stems from her naturally generous spirit.

My mom used to play a game with me when I was small. Each day during Advent, she would place a new decoration in our home. When I returned from school, it was my job to guess what was new. Preparation was always important, and that lesson was well-taught. As we prepared our home for holiday visitors by decorating, cleaning, or baking, I learned the importance of preparing our hearts.

As a little girl, I especially looked forward to Sunday dinner, when we lit the candles on our Advent wreath. I was torn as to which week I wanted to read-- Hope, so that I could light my candle every week, or Joy, because that was the pink candle? Everything about Advent was so impressive to me. Christmas was cool and all, don't get me wrong, but Advent was something spectacular.

I really dropped the ball last year; I was in such pain over church that I neglected the season in our home; I missed that opportunity to grow; I allowed hurt feelings and disillusionment to win. When Christmas arrived, I was not ready. Oh sure, my shopping was done, but I wasn't ready. Never again. This year I am committed to the preparations. My Advent journey begins December 3.


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