Advent is a time of waiting, not the kind of waiting that finds us kicking our heels in boredom, not the fearful waiting for unwelcome news, not the numbed waiting of the grieving at the bedside of the dying,– but the attentive waiting as we live each moment fully. Like the waiting of pregnancy, which we call ‘expecting’, Advent is a time of waiting expectantly, a time to prepare for Christmas.

These preparations will be many and varied. Decorating the house, and checking the Christmas tree lights; writing and posting (or e-mailing) cards, letters and presents; buying and wrapping those gifts; buying and preparing all the food; and so much more. But all this busyness can lead to short tempers and frazzled nerves. A good antidote to this is to take time to prepare ourselves spiritually as well as physically. Taking a short time every day to be still and think about the reason for the season, Jesus, Immanuel. When we remember the awesome event that we celebrate at Christmas, that unique moment in time when God, the One and Only, came to live ‘with us’, our hearts are filled with wonder and peace.