Today marks the beginning of the end. Advent is our time of looking toward the end: the coming of the Savior, and the salvation of us all.
It's not Christmas yet. It's hard to convince children of that, since neighborhoods and stores are full of Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, candy canes, twinkle lights, silver bells and all those secular symbols. But what about the Baby?
Advent is a time in which I try to keep my family looking toward the "reason for the season." There are not yet any decorations in my home. At dinner tonight we will light a candle in our Advent wreath. After dinner I will clear a special shelf in the living room and we'll place our empty manger there. We make a calendar filled with daily Advent activities, and this year it extends through Epiphany. In our home, we attempt an attitude of anticipation, and we try not to celebrate the feast until it arrives.