Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Advent Anticipation

Advent blessings from Debby Giusti!

Advent is a time of anticipation when we wait in expectation for the birth of the Baby Jesus. The story has been told and retold down through the ages whenever Christians reflect on the coming of the Christ Child. Luke and Matthew both include the infancy narratives in their gospels, and in keeping with the season, I thought we'd look briefly at the various techniques the evangelists use to build a sense of excitement and wonder that invites the reader into the story.
           
At the beginning of his gospel, Luke sets the timeframe “in the days of Herod, King of Judea” and introduces Zachariah, a priest from the family of Abijah, who has been chosen to burn incense before the Lord. Devout Jews of the time would understand the honor afforded to Zachariah as he enters into the Holy Place within the temple, separated only by a curtain from the Ark of the Covenant and the tablets of the Law.
           
Inner conflict is revealed when Luke writes that, although “righteous in the eyes of God,” Zachariah and his wife, Elizabeth, had no child and were advanced in years. Their struggle serves to highlight the specialness of this particular moment in time as Zachariah steps before the Lord.

           
As we know, an angel appears with a message from God that Zachariah’s prayer has been heard and that Elizabeth is to have a child who will be named John. As much as we want Zachariah to accept the angel’s word as truth, we know he hesitates—just as many of our fictional characters do—and doubts the Lord. In life, as in fiction, mistakes often bring negative repercussions. Zachariah is struck dumb. He and Elizabeth return home, but the Lord does not withhold his mercy, and as foretold, Elizabeth conceives a child.  

Luke uses comparison and contrast to pick up the story six months later when the angel Gabriel is “sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.” Again, Jews in that day would recall the foretelling of a Messiah in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.”


As was foretold, the angel announces to Mary that she will bear a son, “and you shall name him Jesus.” He also reveals Elizabeth’s pregnancy, with a final “nothing is impossible for God.”
           
While Zachariah doubted, Mary readily proclaims, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” She quickly travels to be with Elizabeth, and to underscore Mary’s “yes” to the Lord, we hear Elizabeth’s words, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”   

           
The second chapter of Luke’s gospel tells of a decree that went out from Caesar Augustus that requires Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem. How well we treasure this part of the story as Mary gives birth, wraps her baby in swaddling clothes and lays him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
           
An angel again appears--this time to shepherds--and proclaims, “A savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” As heavenly hosts praise God, the shepherds go to Bethlehem and find the infant child. They share what the angel said, and scripture tells us that “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”

           
Matthew’s narrative gives us a glimpse into Joseph’s concern when he learns Mary is with child, but again, the angel appears in a dream and tells him to take Mary as his wife. The angel repeats the prophetic message that foretells Christ’s salvific mission when he says, “She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save people from their sins.”

Matthew also adds the visit of the Magi and shows how they thwart the evil attempts of King Herod who fears the infant and wants to do him harm. The three kings are led by a star, another great sign, to the tiny babe, where they honor him with gifts to signify his kingship.


Like modern writers, Luke and Matthew use foreshadowing, secrets, repetition and comparison and contrast in their gospels as they tell the story of Christ’s birth. Foreshadowing allows the reader to pick up clues of what is to come. Those clues build anticipation and point the way—just as the star did for the Magi—to an important plot point or revelation that is to come.

Secrets increase reader expectation, especially if they’re revealed to one of the characters, but are kept hidden from the other. In Matthew’s gospel, we learn that Herod meets with the Magi and claims he wants to pay homage to the infant Jesus. Mary and Joseph are unaware of his evil plot to hurt their infant son until an angel warns Joseph to take the child and flee into Egypt.


Repetition serves to underscore certain parts of a story. The appearance of the angel Gabriel to Zachariah, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds highlights the importance of this moment in history. God is getting their attention and ours as he sends his messenger to announce the coming of the Christ Child.

Comparison and contrast show two sides of an issue, played out in different ways. Zachariah, a priestly man of God, doubts, whereas Mary—a young, humble virgin—accepts God’s will for her life and gives herself totally to the Lord.


One of our family traditions is for my husband to read the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke’s gospel on Christmas Eve. Share your family traditions or leave a comment about Advent anticipation to be entered in the drawing for a copy of HOLIDAY DEFENDERS and an additional Christmas surprise.


May the wonder of the Christ Child’s birth fill you anew this holiday season with peace and joy and love!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Debby Giusti


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70 comments:

Anne Rightler said...

When our children were at home we did an advent wreath during the month of Dec. designating each candle a different meaning related to the birth of Christ. Christmas Eve service at church and the reading of the Christmas story in the morning sometimes before opening gifts, sometimes after. What a privilege to be able to personally know this God whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.
anne@rightler.com

Mary Preston said...

We gather around the piano & sing traditional Christmas Carols. We light the room with just candles. It's a beautiful time of family & faith.

Keli Gwyn said...

I love your post, Debby, and how you highlighted the storytelling skills used by the Gospel writers.

Our family traditions this year have changed. They used to focus heavily on our daughter, but she's living in Austria this year, and we won't be seeing her--other than via Skype. This is our first year without her. I've been missing her, but I've found myself focusing less on family traditions and more on doing things with our church family and with friends. I'd expected to be feeling sad, but I'm having a good deal of fun. Perhaps I'll do a better job embracing this new chapter of my life than I thought.

Cindy W. said...

When I was young we always went to candlelight services on Christmas Eve, then we were allowed to open one gift before heading off to bed. On Christmas morning my mom always prepares Chipped Beef Gravy over toast or biscuits. The tradition of the Chipped Beef Gravy has now been passed down to all my nieces and nephews and they now do the same.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Jackie said...

Hi Debby,

What a beautiful post. Today my oldest granddaughter turns five. I pulled out our toy nativity set, and each time she has come to the house this year we've played the Christmas story.

I hope you have a blessed Christmas!

Kelly Bridgewater said...

Debby, Our family owns the Fisher price nativity set. On Christmas Eve, my husband reads the story, then we have the kids show us the story with the toys. It helps their comprehending skills and cements the story in their mind. Merry Christmas!

Kav said...

Beautiful reminder of the reason for the season, Debby -- and you even threw in a writing lesson!

I always get an advent candle -- the taper kind that marks the 25 days to Christmas. I light it every night and read a Christmas story/devotional while the candle burns down to the next number.

And I church hop the month of December, attending various carol sings and evening services at churches in my area. I can never get too much caroling or the reading of the Christmas story.

Debby Giusti said...

Morning, Anne!

I love Advent wreaths that "count down" to the Christ Child's birth!

We go to church Christmas Eve. Always a special night.

Merry Christmas!

Tina Radcliffe said...

What a lovely, lovely post, Debby. Thank you for focusing us where we should be focused today.

Debby Giusti said...

Your Christmas candelight celebration sounds wonderful, Mary Preston! I'm sure the little ones love it as much as the older folks!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I haven't met Anne Rightler yet. Morning, Anne,and welcome to Seekerville. Reader or writer? Tell us about yourself.

Debby Giusti said...

Keli,
I know you'll miss your sweet daughter this Christmas. Good that you're changing the traditions for this new stage of life. Thinking of others always helps me find the true meaning of Christmas...so I'll be thinking of you and sending prayers of support and love.

Prayers for your daughter too. I'm sure she'll miss you and hubby at this special time of the year.

Rose said...

Debby,

Wonderful post! I try to celebrate the entire Advent season not just Christmas day.

When our son and my niece were little I'd buy them small advent gifts that I thought reflected message of the advent and explain what each Sunday in Advent stood for.

Debby Giusti said...

Cindy, love the special breakfast. Isn't it nice that we develop traditions that underscore the specialness of Christmas and family!

Debby Giusti said...

Jackie, that warms my heart. Your granddaughter is living out the Nativity story with her play. Mine have their own manger scenes too. One is Fisher Price--so cute! Others are carved figures that won't break.

I used a cloth Nativity set in my HOLIDAY DEFENDERS story, which was based on a set my little ones have.

Debby Giusti said...

Kelly, I just mentioned the Fisher Price Nativity set in my comment above. Isn't it adorable. My little ones love it too.

My children's names are Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary so they would act out the story as a play--each being their namesake character.

Debby Giusti said...

Kav, I haven't seen the Advent Candle. What a lovely idea to light it each night. Must look for one next year! We use the four candle wreath. This coming Sunday we light the last candle. Christmas is almost here! A time for anticipation.

Love that you enjoy all the special Christmas programs in the various churches. Ours had a lovely event last Saturday, Advent by Candlelight. More than 600 people attended services, had a candlelight dinner and attended a special Advent talk by a learned scripture scholar. All so very special. Wish you could have joined us!

Sending lots of love and hugs!

Merry Christmas!

Debby Giusti said...

Tina, sending Advent greetings and love to a very busy lady. Thanks for all you do!

Debby Giusti said...

Rose, love that you enjoy Advent and share the special message with your family. I enjoy the daily scriptures that point us, so beautifully, to the coming of the Christ Child. Each day moves us closer to that special moment in time.

Piper Huguley said...

Wonderful post Debby! You look lovely in your hoodie as well!

The foreshadowing that always strikes me is of Mary pondering the meaning of the gifts that the three kings bring--especially the myrrh. That always gives me chills-even more now that I'm a mother of a son.
Over the past few years, Christmas is a reminder of how important it is to spend time with loved ones while they are here with us. That's what I'm going to focus on this year and do my best to recreate tastes, etc. that people will love. That's my gift.
Merry Christmas!

DebH said...

I love this post. In our family, we always gathered to read the Christmas story in Luke 2 and then go around the room and state what we were most thankful for in the past year.
At first, we took turns as to who read the Christmas story, but my younger brother, who is dyslexic - took over the reading duties each year because he wanted to see how much better he got at beating his learning disability.

For my little guy, we're still attempting to establish traditions. So far, we read the Luke 2 story and he helps put up our two nativity scenes. One on a table and the other under the tree. He gets to play with the one under the tree. Apparently baby Jesus likes to hide from his visitors until Christmas. I want to use the yarn pieces thing that Ruthy does with her littles - especially since this year, my little guy has been struggling with behaving for Daddy.

Don't put my name in the draw. I already have the book and am hoping to read it in a spare moment over Christmas. *laughing at the idea of a spare moment*

Audra Harders said...

The retelling of the Christmas story never grows old, Debby! I love how you placed it in perspective to our own plots and conflicts.

May the story and Truth of Christmas live in our hearts forever.

Our Christmas Eve tradition included driving to my aunt's house and celebrating a thoroughly German Christmas Eve complete with roast goose, desserts unending, and presents. Then our family would pack up and go to the Candlelight Service at 11:00 to worship the birth of Jesus.

Sadly, our church no longer offers the 11:00 service. That breaks my heart.

We still carry on tradition with family and feasting, but the light of Christmas Eve has definitely been dimmed without the 11:00 celebration.

Sad thing is, we've tried finding other 11:00 services and the tradition seems to have faded away.

On a bright note though, the tradition is alive and well in the hearts of my adult children and it warms me to hear THEM regretting the loss of the Candlelight Service, too!!

Audra Harders said...

Keli, I feel the emptiness of your daughter being overseas for the holidays. My daughter just returned from 6 months in Europe and though Skype and Facetime are awesome inventions, they had nothing on the joy of hugging her a week ago when she returned.

Blessing to you, my friend. Enjoy the holidays and know the Lord watches over her!!

Cindy Regnier said...

I like the comparison of gospel writers to today's storytellers. Thanks Debby. I miss having kids around at Christmas but I do love the advent candles at church, especially on Christmas Eve. I wrote a poem about Mary's conversation with God to be read in our Christmas eve service this year. I have trouble even signing my name to it as my hand may have held the pen but I certainly didn't write it! Looking forward to seeing my Atlanta kids soon!

Julie Lessman said...

Beautiful post, Deb, and SO perfect for this season!!

And clever!! I never broke it down before to see the literary value/techniques used, so that is really cool!!

Like you, one of our traditions is to read the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke’s gospel, but on Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve.

I wish you and everyone a happy, healthy, and holy holiday season!!

Hugs,
Julie

Marianne Barkman said...

Valves the post, Debby. It actually brings new meaning for me this season...it's like a well read and loved story which never grows old as we find something new each time we read it! Thanks.

cathyann40 said...

I loved reading this post. I can only imagine how it is with your daughter over seas. I, myself am by myself and I have spent all the holidays alone for a few years. It's a very lonely time. I wake up to no noise, not a single thing under my small tree, no special dinner, etc. I do wish you a very Merry Christmas. I've heard Skype is great.

Mary Hicks said...

A wonderful post, Debby!

The old testament is foreshadowing for the new testament. The old and the new fit together, hand and glove.

Christmas is upon us! A Happy one to all :-)!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Awww Debby, It was wonderful to hear the story of Jesus birth again. We have the same tradition. We read the story from Luke on Christmas eve also. What a wonderful tradition.

Thanks for showing us writing craft from examples in this precious story.

Happy writing and Merry Christmas

CatMom said...

What a lovely post, sweet Debby. Reading this helped me focus today on the TRUE meaning of this wonderful season.

A tradition I've had for 30 years (I began the year my oldest was a newborn!) is reading the Christmas story from Luke to my children. I have continued this even since they've been grown, and it's always a special time for us (my 2 sons-in-law now join us too).

No need to enter me in the drawing as I already have your awesome book! :)

Christmas blessings and love to you, Patti Jo

Sandra Leesmith said...

Cindy W. We open one present on Christmas eve also. That started when we were kids and were too impatient to wait. LOL I think our parents started that to keep us quiet. But its a great tradition.

Kav like that candle idea. I've never seen one of those. Where do you get them?

Rose, I celebrate each day and also the days of Christmas after the 25th up to Epiphany.

Jill Weatherholt said...

This is such a beautiful post, Debby. One of our Christmas Eve traditions is after church, we come home and break out all of the old photo albums from years past. It's such a special time.
Merry Christmas!

Jennifer Smith said...

Thanks for this post, Debby! I've never stopped to think of the storytelling techniques used in the Christmas narratives.

My husband and I haven't established any special Christmas traditions, but now that we have a child old enough to know what's going on, I suspect that may change. I've always loved Christmas, but I've found it's even more fun when you throw a child of your own into the mix. :)

Debby Giusti said...

A lovely gift for those you love, Piper!

Yes, the Magi's gift of myrrh did foreshadow Christ's death. I'm sure Mary reflected back when she prepared his body for burial to the Three Kings and their gifts.

Also Simeon's prophecy that a sword would piece her heart. Yet she encourages Christ to begin his ministry at the Wedding Feast of Cana when she tells the servant to "do whatever he tells you." An amazing mother with great love for all.

Debby Giusti said...

DebH, how nice that you have two Nativity scenes and that your little guy can play with the one under the tree. We place the Baby Jesus in the manger after reading the story from Luke on Christmas Eve. Actually, we walk around the house, singing "Silent Night" and knocking on our closed bedroom doors that symbolize that there was no room for the baby in Bethlehem. After placing Jesus in the manger, we give thanks for the year past and ask blessings on the year to come.

Debby Giusti said...

Audra, I'm sorry your church no longer has an 11 PM service. Ours starts with a 4:30 PM service that we usually attend, which begins our Christmas celebration on the right note, by honoring God and giving thanks to the Infant King. We also have services at 6:30, 9 pm and 11 pm. More are offered the next morning so there's always a good selection of times from which to choose.

Keep looking, maybe you'll find that special church this year!

You mentioned the Truth of Christmas. So important, especially in this present day when so many try to downplay the true meaning of Christmas.

Meghan Carver said...

Wonderful post, Debby! I love examining the literary techniques of the Best Book of All. For our traditions, we also read Luke 2 but usually right before Christmas dinner. This year, our Bible Bee contestants will be able to recite it. We also do something like what Kelly does by having our children explain the different roles of the people and animals in our nativity set.

Last week, I read Mission: Christmas Rescue. It was a terrific story, as usual. :-) Please still enter me in the drawing. I would love to have a copy to give away. Thank you!

Debby Giusti said...

Cindy, I'm sure God inspired your special writing. Is it short enough to share here? Or perhaps just a portion?

God is raising up His writers, and He has much to reveal to His people. Bless you for listening to His voice and responding. I know he--and his Mother Mary--are pleased.

Where do your Atlanta kids live? In the city? How special to have them home for the holidays!

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, starting the day on Christmas with scripture is perfect! Love your tradition.

While writing today's blog, I was struck with the importance of Zachariah's doubt when compared to Mary's yes. Although I knew the scripture passages, I hadn't seen the connection that makes Mary's acceptance of God's will even more powerful.

Debby Giusti said...

Marianne,

You're so right about scripture. Each reading brings new meaning. I just answered Julie with a comment about the connection between Zachariah and Mary that I hadn't appreciated fully before writing this post.

Scripture is so rich...we will never tap fully from its treasures.

Hugs and love!

Debby Giusti said...

Cathyann, your comment touched my heart. I'll be praying for you throughout this Christmas season that the Lord will bring new friends to brighten your life and that you will be filled with the love of the Christ Child.

Why don't you find a church and join in their activities? When we reach out to others, we are often doubly blessed. Visit a nursing home this Christmas and share your love with those who are alone. Perhaps help at a homeless shelter or a local hospital.

My father was in ICU over Christmas some years ago. I was far from home and family and was touched by those who visited that day, bringing love and support.

Remember you're part of the Seekerville family. You're not alone. God loves you, and so do we!

Janet Dean said...

Thank you for your beautiful post, Debby! Wonderful to take time and reflect on the precious, exciting, even disturbing events surrounding our Savior's birth. And to see in the telling of the story techniques we writers use.

When our children were small they loved opening Advent Calendars' paper doors concealing some aspect of Christmas. We would light a candle and sing carols and songs before bedtime. They acted out the story or shared a song or poem with family on Christmas Eve. I miss those days. Now our grandkids feel they're too old for those traditions, but one thing won't change: the reading of the Christmas story from Luke before we open gifts.

Janet

Debby Giusti said...

So true, Mary Hicks. I love how Christ fulfills the Old Testament prophecies. By studying both the Old and the New, we see the complete story of salvation history.

Merry Christmas!

Myra Johnson said...

What a lovely way to relate the Christmas story to both real life and our stories--thanks, Debby!

There are a few traditions we've adopted over the years that help to awaken the Christmas spirit. Simple things like watching Christmas movies on TV, both the old favorites and the new ones Hallmark brings out every year. During the last several days leading up to Christmas, we enjoy an evening glass of eggnog with a special treat.

One tradition we truly enjoy is Christmas Eve candlelight worship. I'll never forget the year an Oklahoma blizzard blew in earlier than predicted and kept us home on Christmas Eve. We really missed being at church for the carols, lessons, and lighting the candles for "Silent Night," but least we had a blazing fire in the fireplace and our family all together.

Debby Giusti said...

Sandra,
The Christmas story always warms my heart! Thanks for mentioning that the season continues on to the Epiphany. There is much to celebrate over many days.

Hugs and love!

Debby Giusti said...

Patti Jo, enjoy this special time with your beautiful family. Feeling your love and prayers. Thank you, dear friend!

Debby Giusti said...

Jill, what a nice tradition! Love that you spend time pouring over the photos and reflecting on those special moments from the past. Thanks for sharing!

Peace and love to you and your family!

Debby Giusti said...

Jennifer,

You're so right! Christmas is even more special when shared with children. Have a joyous Christmas and enjoy that little one. They grow up so fast!

Debby Giusti said...

Meghan,

How wonderful that your Bible Bee scholar has memorized the story from Luke's gospel. Can you record or video the telling to save for future years? That's a huge accomplishment! I know you're proud.

Thanks for your kind words about Mission: Christmas Rescue. Yes, you're in the drawing!

I was looking over some of my ACFW photos last night and saw the ones of us at breakfast and then the shots that include your family. Such lovely memories that I treasure.

Remembering you and yours at Christmas.

Debby Giusti said...

Janet, such lovely memories when the children were young. We love attending our 4:30 PM Christmas Eve service because so many with young children are there. The little ones are filled with awe and wonder that is infectious and adds to our joy.

Merry Christmas and much love to you and your family!

Debby Giusti said...

Myra, I'm sure your choir brings joy to so many and especially at Christmas. Such a gift! Thanks for sharing your time and talent. Your "yes" allows others to more deeply celebrate Christ's birth.

Glad you were kept safe in the blizzard. Praying protection for all those who travel this holiday.

Mary Connealy said...

I've always thought that Zachariah and Mary reacted in such similar ways.
You point out the differences but they both say doubtful things.

Zachariah, how is this possible when I and Elizabeth are so old?
Mary, how is this possible when I am a virgin.

To me what it comes down to is the lesson that is buried in every story in the Bible...it was what was in their hearts.
Zachariah had doubt and a lack of faith in his heart
Mary's heart was right with God.

What a wonderful post, Debbie. Thank you for bringing Advent to Seekerville.

Jana Vanderslice said...

When I was in high school, my job was to set up the nativity scene. One day I came home from school & it had all been rearranged. My mom (the guilty party) had no idea who had done it! A few days later when no one was looking, I moved all the pieces & waited to see how long it would take for my mom to notice. :)

We still play this game. It was always the first thing I did when I came home for Christmas from college and even now as a grown up. I love my fun loving, silly mom! It's the little things that make Christmas special!

Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful Seekerville Friends!

Janet Dean said...

Debby, I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas, dear friend! As I do everyone in Seekerville. What a joy to have this community.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Keli, each chapter of our lives has precious aspects. Glad you're finding a niche with your daughter living in Austria.

Janet

Debby Giusti said...

Mary C,
Although the differences between Zachariah's response and Mary's may seem subtle, we know that Zachariah was so close to the Holy of Holies when the angel appeared. He had prayed for a son, yet when the angel reveals that Elizabeth will conceive, Zachariah responds, "How shall I know this?" He asks for a sign, due to his unbelief, and a sign is given when he is struck dumb.

Mary needs to ensure the angel realizes she is a virgin so her response -- "How can this be since I have no relations with a man?" -- is not so much one of doubting God but of telling the angel of her status in life, her virginity.

Splitting hairs, perhaps, but we both agree that God knew what was in their hearts! :)

Sending love and hugs to you and your family. Merry Christmas!

Debby Giusti said...

Jana, how fun! I love your tradition of mixing up the manger scene. You have a special mom...and I'm sure she's proud of her daughter!

Prayers for you and your family throughout the Christmas season!

Hugs!

Terri said...

Beautiful post and so perfect for the Christmas season. One of our family traditions is attending Church on Christmas Eve and then going home for a nice dinner. Sometimes we look at Christmas lights on the way home and sometimes we wrap gifts after dinner.

No need to enter me in the drawing, I've read Holiday Defenders and loved it.

Debby Giusti said...

How nice to making wrapping gifts a Christmas Eve tradition. I'm usually finishing up earlier in the day! :)

Have a joyous Christmas. Thanks for your sweet words about Holiday Defenders, Terri!

Hugs and love!

Lyndee H said...

Debby,another powerful post. God has blessed you with so many wonderful ministries. Your faith is a beacon. Many times He has touched me through you. Praise God!

Our Christmas tradition revolved around our very old manger scene. Each figure was separate, rather than molded together, so the bed was separate from the baby Jesus. We let the kids set it up with the empty manger and when they came down on Christmas morning, they were excited about the gifts, of course as children would be, but they always went to the manger to see if Jesus was in his bed so they could wish Him Happy Birthday.

Merry Christmas!

Debby Giusti said...

Lyndee, what a beautiful story about your children's love for Jesus. Thank you for sharing, dear friend. Your words touched me deeply. Wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas and an abundance of God's blessings throughout the New Year!

Hugs and love!

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

So beautiful!

And the angels appearing to Joseph in dreams remind me of this older nun I knew who said she was very devout in her "St. Joseph's meditation" every day. I found out after a while she was talking about a NAP. Hahaha!

Debby Giusti said...

Cute, Virginia. She was, no doubt, resting in the Spirit! :)

Hugs!

Tanya Agler said...

Debby, thank you for this beautiful post that helps bring the joy of advent into this day.

Ten years ago, my husband bought a wooden candle holder when he visited Ohio. Since then, we've put three purple, one pink, and one white votive candle in each spot for advent. One of the glass holders is chipped, but we continue to put it on our dining room table to remind us about advent. Our kids love advent calendars, and my youngest son has been reading the advent calendar he received at Sunday School.

Thank you, Debby, for that inspiring post.

Debby Giusti said...

Tanya,

How nice to have the tradition of the Advent wreath and calendars. When we lived in Germany, my children loved the Christmas calendars that had chocolate behind each day's picture. :)

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Sandy Smith said...

I'm very late joining the party tonight. But this is my last 13 hour day or work for now.

We keep an advent wreath on our coffee table next to the nativity scene. We haven't been that diligent about doing it each Sunday like we used to,though. My family used to do the advent wreath when I was growing up, too.

Please enter me in the drawing for your book.

Heidi Robbins said...

As a kid I always loved acting out the Nativity story with my cousins. I think next year our kids will be old enough to give it a try :)
Please include me in your giveaway!

Debby Giusti said...

Sandy, it's never too late to stop by Seekerville. So sorry about your 13 hour work days. Oh my goodness! You must be exhausted. Sending gentle hugs to refresh and nourish your spirit.

Love seeing you on Facebook!

Praying for you and yours. May your Christmas be filled with joy!

Debby Giusti said...

Heidi,
What a fun memory about you and your cousins acting out the Nativity. Thanks for sharing. Won't it be special to see your little ones doing the same!

God is good!

Sending hugs and Christmas joy!

Chill N said...

Arriving very, very late to say "Lovely post, Debby."

And Merry Christmas to you!

Nancy C