Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent, which means "coming." What many Catholic and Protestant churches practice today is a four-week build toward Christmas day. Each Sunday teaching moves closer to the incarnation of Christ. Advent prepares our minds and hearts rightly for the season. I told my 5th and 6th graders that it helps us think about "Immanuel," God with us, the gift of what God has done through Jesus, is doing through the church today, and will do through the baby turned coming king. The focus is on coming not getting for Christmas. Advent anticipates anew the second coming of Christ by focusing on the first coming, the incarnation, God dwelling among us. In our home we have a block of wood from Uganda with "You are the light of the world" from Matthew 5 etched into it by a Ugandan woodcarver. On top are four holes for candles. My sister, Terri, recently brought this back to us. It's perfect for use as Advent candles. Our family will light one each week as we talk about the coming of Jesus, the true meaning of Christmas. Thank you, Terri! We love you.

I want you to know about an outstanding organization called Alternatives for Simple Living. They are waging a battle against consumerism of holidays that is noble and right.

Finally today, I'd like to share a nice page of links to Advent resources. If you are like me, you have neither fully administered the Advent liturgies, nor have truly internalized their power, and I have a lot to learn from moving through this season with these truths on my heart and my family's heart.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about our family's 12 days of Christmas.

GeneralGreg Taylor