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 What Advent means to me . . . .


Advent has been a very different time of the year for me depending on what was going on in my life. When I was in college I worked retail and there was very little Christmas spirit in me.  That was a true sign that retail was not for me in the long term.  We never went to church much during Advent and never on Christmas Eve when I was growing up.  Now my parents love to visit me during Christmas so they too can enjoy the Christmas traditions my husband and I have created together.  When my daughter was young, I always taught Sunday School each December all during the month so I had an Advent wreath on my table to keep me focused on each week of Advent.  When I was the CEC Elder, it was all about planning the Advent dinners, ensuring we had programming each week, and attending all 3 services to ensure everything went off without a hitch.  Now my children are becoming young adults, I truly realize what is important.  I have the privilege of being a Youth Elder and help the youth of our church grow and develop.  Advent is a time to de-stress, focus on the holiday traditions our family enjoys, and think about what is really important.  It is a time to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.  It is a time to decorate with the decorations I enjoy including my beautiful nativity scene my husband gave me that I enjoy sitting on my fireplace.  I’ve passed the years where I had to have the unbreakable ones because my son would toss Baby Jesus across the room much to my horror.  I enjoy the silver bells my husband and have collected each year we have been married.  Although I don’t enjoy polishing them, 25 silver bells is an impressive sight.  Those bells are symbol of marriage- they are a lot of work but they represent something beautiful which is the marriage and family my husband and I have formed together.   I’ve passed the years when I was worried just how many people would be around the table so everything would match.  Many of those past “obligations” have now turned into “privileges” where I can see the Angels beautifully lit as they remind me of Peace on Earth, I get to watch my husband and daughter sing on Christmas Eve (even though it takes 2 services for me to see them both), and I love the 11:00 service on Christmas Eve to see all the college kids who have come back to their Salisbury home.  I leave the church at midnight with my daughter and know that this is what Advent is all about.   We have prepared all month and celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ.  Now is the time to think again how we can focus less on obligations and more on our blessings and privileges.
Laura Thompson