On The First Day Of Christmas…
I love Christmas. I love the carols, the lights, the tree, the first snow, and even the baking. Everything about the holiday, I love. Advent has started and it got me thinking about what that means. What does, “On the first Day of Christmas” mean to you?
The magic of Christmas is not in the presents, but in His presence.
The History of Advent:
Advent focuses on the anticipation of Christ’s birth in the season leading up to Christmas. During the 4th and 5thcenturies, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany. Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration. [Originally, advent was not tied to the ‘coming’ of Christ]. By the 6th Century, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ.
In today’s culture, Advent lasts for 4 Sunday’s leading up to Christmas Eve representing the ‘coming’ of Christ. There is actually three meanings of the ‘coming’. The first and most thought of is when Jesus came into the world as a baby. The second can happen now as Jesus wants to come into our lives and the third will happen when Jesus returns to the world.
Do you have any Advent traditions?
How do you celebrate the ‘coming’ of Christ?
Do you have a ‘kick-off’ for the season?
For me, I have a few key moments or ‘gifts’ that prepare me for the Advent season:
- The first snow. Waking up and seeing a fluffy carpet of white covering the ground definitely kicks off the Christmas season with a bang.
- Hearing Christmas carols over the radio (or better yet, when my husband begins to play them on the piano).
Side Note: We have an unwritten rule in our house that Christmas carols can be sung only after the first snow – however this ‘rule’ tends to be broken year after year (which I secretly love more than anything).
- Watching The Holiday. I love this Christmas movie. Not traditional in any sense, but warms my soul every time I watch it.
- Baking my first batch of short bread cookies. This recipe is my mom’s (actually, my grandma’s recipe). I have been making these all my life – as a child with my mom – and ever since I have been married to keep the tradition going.
- Reading The Greatest Gift by Joyce Meyer. A great devotional to read and re-read each year to prepare your heart, focus on the joy, and take a breath as you head into celebrating Christmas.
When our kids were little, we used to make our own Advent Calendars where we put small gifts in tiny stockings hung on a wood tree (designed, created and built by my wonderful husband). It was so much fun getting this ready for them and then having them open the tiny presents. We often would put clues in the stockings (if the item would not fit in the tiny stocking) and the ‘gifts’ would be hidden somewhere in our home. It was like a treasure hunt.
When you think of it. Advent – the ‘coming’ – is a treasure hunt. It’s God’s way of placing ‘gift’s right in front of us in order to find Him. My ‘gift’s are the points listed above. Those 5 simple items are what warms my soul, prepares my heart, and places the spirit of Christmas – that peaceful still moment – right dead centre into my view and heart.
So, as you enter the Advent season this year, be open in seeing God’s gifts. He is placing those special moments right in front of you so that Christmas can be all around you.
“I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes, Christmas is all around me, And so the feeling goes. It’s written in the wind, It’s everywhere I go, So if you really love Christmas, Come on and let it snow”
Now go, kick off Advent this year with your eyes wide with sparkly wonder, your belly full of Christmas sweets, and your soul wrapped in the spirit of Christmas – for the true spirit of Christmas lies within your heart.