The Rev. Karen Gibson: A time of preparation |

The Rev. Karen Gibson: A time of preparation

The Rev. Karen Gibson, Co-pastor of Friendship United Methodist Church

I guess as soon as all the leftovers were put away from the traditional Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday, our thoughts turned to Christmas, and maybe Christmas shopping.

After all, if anyone turned on a television to watch a football game, opened a newspaper, or listened to the radio or television news on Thanksgiving Day, one was bombarded by commercials about saving money on Christmas items, or broadcasts about how well business owners predict their sales will be this year.

I am naming just a few of the ways that we might be influenced to take our focus off the true meaning of Christmas.

That is why I need Advent.

Advent in Latin means "to come." Today, advent means "coming" or "arrival."

In the Christian world, the four weeks before Christmas are a time of preparation. Each week an additional candle on an advent wreath is lighted. Each candle represents a symbol of the promises and blessings that are given to all humankind — hope, love, joy and peace. Advent gives me time to have a wider focus on the full aspects of Christmas.

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Nan Duerling explains in her commentary in "Blessings of the Manger."

"Advent looks back to the past in Bethlehem, includes us in the present and looks ahead to Christ's return," she wrote.

Advent helps me to not get caught up in the pressures of the media.

My preparing for the second coming of Christ, or the arrival of the Christ child influences the activities in which I choose to participate in during the Advent season.

Of course, thinking about others becomes more of a priority during this period also, but something that I have come to recognize as real value is the unbreakable gift my parents gave to me.

It was the gift of support and time. They encouraged me to participate in church activities that were actually preparing oneself for Christmas.

There were church plays, church choir programs, the dressing up and being part of nativity scenes, and of course, going door-to-door singing Christmas carols.

Yes, there were some mission projects also. Through all these activities, I was preparing for the birth and arrival of the Christ child — not what would be under the tree on Christmas morning.

I would encourage everyone and every family to become involved in Advent activities.

Become a participator either in your church, or one of the churches listed in the church directory provided by the Craig Daily Press, so that when the Christ child is born anew on Christmas night, we will be ready to share the story of light and love with our community and the world.

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