FirstAdventEditedDecember 1, 2014

I have found that one of the great blessings of the Advent and Christmas season is finding peace and quiet in the midst of the hustle and bustle.  And then, in that quiet and peace, resting in God, and offering thanks for all He has given us. I especially remember several Christmas Eve nights. After weeks of preparation and many ups and downs, I always looked forward to the late night evening church services. But the most peaceful moments, the moments I really remember being closer to God, were when I would walk the sidewalks near my mother’s house at 1 or 2am following the services. Our street had a longstanding tradition of putting out luminaria (bags with candles in them) along the sidewalks leading to our porches. And our block was one of the last ones in which almost everyone shared in the tradition. But the nights that it snowed were the most magical. Walking down the sidewalks, from house to house, between dozens and dozens of white and brown bags with candles flickering…the sound of snow lightly hitting the bags…and practically not a single person awake. There were always two stories told to explain the bags with candles…one was to light the way for Santa to the houses…the other was to share the light and celebration of the coming of the Christ child. Whatever view was taken…I always found myself a special time and silence on those nights…and knew that God was with me. We all know what Christmas is supposed to be about…but I wonder sometimes how many of us truly seek to find or live in that meaning. For me, finding peaceful silence and beauty on those sidewalks at some point in the midst of the hectic season, always brought me back to God. I encourage you all to find a moment or two of peace, silence and beauty this Advent and holiday season…talk with God and let Him know how grateful you are for even those small moments of light in an otherwise dark world. And of course, if you can light some luminaria and walk the streets late at night in the snow, I highly recommend it!  Peace and blessings this Advent season!

Charlie H.