.....I promise I didn't forget it. Despite the day's fullness, despite football victories and many other important things going on that day, I did not forget to thank Him.
.....Oh, the wonder-filled expectation that this day inaugurates! Beautiful traditions are begun in so many houses throughout the world. We are all remembering the coming of our Only Hope. The birth of the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace. How many of us actually pause our festive activity--setting up candles, making wreaths, opening paper doors--to truly marvel that He actually came. This birth (a seemingly normal event--babies are born every day) that happened more than twenty centuries ago, changed the course of life and history and eternity. If this Baby had not been born, heaven would be void of humans. If He had not grown healthily to manhood, we would be lost forever. If He had not died, we would not have life.
.....God becoming man, over two-thousand years ago, over six thousand miles away, changes our everyday lives in a way we ought never to forget. Any hope or life we might have, rests in Him alone. Join me in joyful memory, in eager expectation, in awe-struck gratitude. . .
.....And as you light the first light, open the first day, or just lift your eyes and notice this Season of Hope. . . have a blessed, blessed Advent.
Comfort, comfort ye my people,
Speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness,
Mourning 'neath their sorrow's load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
Of the peace that waits for them;
Tell her that her sins I cover,
And her warfare now is over.
Yea, her sins our God will pardon,
Blotting out each dark misdeed;
All that well deserved his anger
He no more will see or heed.
She hath suffered many a day
Now her griefs have passed away;
God will change her pining sadness
Into ever-springing gladness.
For the herald's voice is crying
In the desert far and near
Bidding all men to repentance,
Since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
Let the valleys rise to meet him,
And the hills bow down to greet him
Make ye straight what long was crooked
Make the rougher places plain;
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
Now o'er earth is shed abroad;
And all flesh shall see the token
That his word is never broken
~Johannes Olearius, 1671