I've been really enjoying this advent season! I started off a little behind the 8-ball but I think I've caught up and I'm just enjoying all the things we're doing that are traditions which enhance our celebration of the gift of Immanuel (God with us). As I was doing a special Christmas unit study with the boys and we were talking about what advent means and the definitions of several other "Christmasy" words, it all of a sudden dawned on me what this season is all about. Ha, it's about time right? Well, I've known for forever that it's about the birth of our savior, the Messiah. But I asked myself this year, why do we celebrate this every year with such a great amount of time and money devoted to this celebration? All of a sudden the word "remember" came to mind. God tells us to "remember" what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross. Communion is the remembrance of that act of God. All throughout the history of the nation of Israel, God told them to do things to remember what He did for them; have ceremonies, build stone piles as markers to remember. That's what Jewish festivals are all about. I don't know all the festivals and specifically why they are celebrated but I do know they are mostly celebrated to remember what God has done. There's a festival celebration to remember God's delivering Israel from slavery. There's also one for remembering that God spared the lives of the children of Israel when Queen Esther risked her life to reveal to the King, an evil plan to kill the Israelites. Well, there are many more but the point is that it blesses God when we celebrate and remember what he has done for us!! Christmas (and Easter) are set aside times when we remember something specific that God did for us. And, whatever we do to celebrate what he did and to remember it and to make it holy (or set apart) from other days, is a blessing to God!! For the last two years I've had conversations with friends about christmas trees specifically and are they pagan or what? It's taken me two years to come to the conclusion that, regardless of why the first person put that Christmas tree in their house, it's something I do because of memories, traditions and it enhances my experience with setting this time apart to remember what God did in sending His son to be my Savior. I'm so glad God spoke to me about Christmas. I've always thought it funny when people would say "are you ready for Christmas?" I've always thought it was more than just a day. This year especially I've enjoyed each and every day of the Advent season because it is more than just a day. For our family, it's a celebration that starts with Thanksgiving and continues as the decorations go up and the parties begin. We are being intentional about remembering what God has done for us. He sent His son to be our Messiah, Savior and King. A humble baby born to make us right with God. Celebrating such a momentous event should be special and longer than just a day and should be filled with lots of wonderful things to enhance our remembering. I feel so full right now!! I mean full spiritually and very blessed. In addition to the Messiah babe in the manger and the Savior on the cross, God has done soooooooooooo many things in the lives of our family and we have lots of amazing things to remember and celebrate! Merry Christmas and happy and blessed remembering what God has done for you!