One of my least favorite things about Christmas time are the emails that circulate, describing and ridiculing pagans for acting, well, pagan. (Yes, if you're not a Christian, you are a pagan -- however, it's not meant as a slur. Feel free to look the definition up for yourself.)
Religious people (not necessarily Christ-followers) love to slam retail and food chains who choose to say "Happy Holidays", instead of "Merry Christmas" --- And I could gladly perch myself on a soap box about this for the rest of the evening, but I don't feel that would be a wise use of my time...Needless to say, my blog will be a "slam-free" zone this Christmas season. And if a company or individual does/says something I find deeply offensive, then I will quietly refrain from patronizing them. And not just during the month of December...silly!
So instead of forwarding emails and boycotting merchants, we're investing our energy in other ways this Christmas season. We're getting involved in ministries that God directs us toward, and teaching Micah about our Savior's birth.
Tonight we kicked-off Advent at the Martin house.
Advent is a period of spiritual preparation in which we prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate Jesus' birth. For many, Advent involves prayer, fasting, and scripture mediation, while anticipating unbelievable hope and joy. Advent not only turns our hearts to Jesus' birth, but also to His return. It's also a time of thanksgiving to God for giving us His Holy spirit to remain with us until the end.
We're reading Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration. Since it's a daily devotion that leads up to Christmas, we've decided to read it to Micah while he's in the bath tub -- his calmest, quietest time of the day. It actually worked very well!
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.