Today is the first day of advent. Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. Local retail stores had Christmas decorations up and shelves stocked for the holiday even before Halloween. It seems that more and more each year the true meaning and purpose of Christmas is lost. In addition to Christmas this month December 8 through December 16 is the celebration of Hanukkah. Hanukkah known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE.
Both holy or holidays as they are referred to today require us to believe in occurrences of the past. The foundations of the Christian and Jewish faiths are rooted in ancient traditions and history. During a recent stoplight moment a former PaisleyPerspective contributor Mallori Scott saw a live nativity scene reenactment; within three minutes she realized that it is sometimes best to take the Christmas holiday at face value. Today my husband and I observed the first of day of advent by enjoying an advent calendar; we read Isaiah 9:1 and look forward to the remaining 23 days of Advent. It is my belief in the true meaning of Christmas that has lead to less ‘Jingle Bells’ and more ‘Silent Night’.
One of my cherished childhood memories involves watching ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’. My favorite part of the special is when in frustration Charlie Brown asks if anyone can tell him what Christmas is all about and Linus response with the story around the birth of the baby Jesus. For me this year there will be more focus on the meaning of Christmas, which I believe is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and less on the retail experience. In lieu of a Christmas tree, I am putting out a nativity scene and angel figurines to reflect belief that the baby Jesus was sent to Earth in fulfillment of the scriptures.
Each family has to do what they believe is best for their homes. My wish is that everyone who says Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah would stop and think about what these holidays really mean. Let us focus on less hustle & bustle and more focus on helping those in need. And keep that spirit now and all through the coming year along with more kindness to others each day. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to be born of the Virgin Mary. Yes it is a lot to get your head around but it is belief in the ultimate Christmas gift. Wishing you and yours a joy-filled and blessed December.