Advent Devotional

Day 1

Advent Image 1
Omar Parada, Calendar, Nov. 20, 2011, via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
By Erik Segalini | December 1

Preface

Christmas is a holiday for the heart, but it begins in the ear. Can you hear it?

My dad’s kind of a purist when it comes to Christmas music—no one can roast chestnuts like Nat King Cole, and he thinks that “White Christmas” pretty much belongs to Bing. I’m less particular: pianist George Winston, pop star Vanessa Williams and country band Lonestar...I invite them all to spend Christmas with me. And every year, I add another CD to my collection of carols.

Come celebrate the holiday with me. Each day in December, I ruminate over a song from the season. Since this is a busy time of year, I kept it short.

The season of advent is all about preparation. I hope these posts help get you ready.

Merry Christmas.



Away in a Manger

I pressed my forehead up against the cold car window as my mom and dad drove past the large nativity on Main Street. This crèche possessed a mystery: why was baby Jesus missing?

When the people set up the manger, did they forget to add Him? Did they accidentally misplace Jesus last year when they packed up the stable? Maybe someone stole Him!

But every year, my suspicions were silenced on Christmas Day when Jesus suddenly appeared downtown in the blanket-covered trough.

As an adult, I wanted to create a similar feeling of anticipation around my family’s nativity set. In fact, only animals find shelter in our stable for most of December. On a nearby bookshelf, the wise men travel; above our entertainment center, the shepherds guard their sheep, and Mary, Joseph and a donkey rest from their journey atop our family room end table. Then on every Sunday of advent, my kids and I move each of these three groups around the room, “closer” to Bethlehem.

On Christmas Eve, the stable fills up, but Jesus is still nowhere in sight. He's carefully wrapped in a beautiful box beneath the Christmas tree. By tradition, this is the first present to appear under the tree, and the first present we open on Christmas morning. With great satisfaction, we place the baby in the trough; eager expectations met, our attention correctly focused.

Every heart must choose to invite Jesus in or leave Him out. He is the greatest gift of all.

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