Published December 5, 2018 by SMBC

By Angie Durand

Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things. Philippians 4:8

On the day after Thanksgiving, we begin our Advent season by emptying our bookcases and shelves and putting out nativity sets. We have nativities that we have been collecting for years. By the end of the weekend our home is Advent-ready? ready for the celebration of our Savior.

When Amy and Sally went off to college, I made sure they had a few Christmas ornaments and a small tree for their apartments. One year as we were putting out the nativity sets, Sally asked if she could take one back to school with her. She wanted to take the nativity to display in her apartment so she could share the ?real Christmas season? with her roommates. She wanted them to experience the Christ in Christmas the way our family does. I was happy to pack any nativity she wanted to take! Both girls have some Christmas decorations, including several nativities, in their now adult homes.

We also put up several Christmas trees around the house. All of our collections have meaning that connects to our family and traditions in some way. One of the collections that causes us to stop and think about what we have done and where we have been are the ornaments from all the places we have traveled together. Doug and I brought our first ornament home from our honeymoon at Disney World almost 30 years ago. It's always a fun time to reflect about the places and things we've done. So Advent is a time for family togetherness, looking ahead, and anticipating what is to come, while also reflecting on where we've been and how our past reflects who we are today. We clearly see the hand of God and Christ in all our memories and hopes for the future.

Dear Lord, our prayer is to help us hold on to the past in a way that we easily reflect and see Your hand in our lives as we look to the future. Let us always have Christ as the center in all that we do. Amen.

Angie Durand joined SMBC as a nearly wed in 1989. She and her husband, Doug, have raised their daughters, Amy and Sally, with this church family.