There is something very rich and meaningful about Christmas with its ties to traditions, even more so in my opinion, when they strengthen our connection to the Church. We've only been celebrating and marking Advent for about five years now and I am surprised each year at how much it means to me and how deeper my joy in this season has become.

Each year Rob and I set up the Advent arrangement at church. I really enjoy the reactions the first Sunday it is all decorated, especially from the children. The decorations vary somewhat each time as we are finding things we do and don't like about what we've done previously. Last year we loved using larger pillar candles but couldn't find them unscented this year so we went back to taper candles.

Because of the layout of the platform the arrangement pretty much has the same place every year. From one angle there is the most beautiful juxtaposition of the Advent candles and the cross on our wall. It's truly one of my most favorites sights to see each year.

We have a prayer we say all together each week after we have been called to worship. Whether you celebrate Advent or not may these words find room in your heart and mind. And may they enrich your joy in this season as you worship the One that stepped into time and became flesh.

Almighty God,
Unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love You
and worthily magnify Your glorious name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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