He looked at me with those big brown eyes and said, "We have been through a lot, you and Dad and I and God." It was one of those times when I wonder looking back if I should have said something. Maybe I should have tried to explain why that happens sometimes or asked him how he felt about it. But there was something in the way he said it. It was not a question, it was said without bitterness or sadness or regret. It simply was. The statement is so much wiser than his eight little years. He was right, we had been through a lot but he recognized that God had been right there too. Liam never faltered that God loved him, wanted the best for him and that with Him there was our hope.
Today, is the first Sunday of Advent. It is the day my dad puts on his outdoor Christmas lights, the day we start to sing Christmas songs at our Sunday service and the day we light the first candle on our advent wreath. There are many traditions that we as a family have developed and participate in around Christmas time.
This time and my conversation with Liam has reminded me of how important it is to cherish God in all that we do. Not so long ago, my wonderful husband bought me a book that was written about just that purpose. The book is called "Treasuring God in Our Traditions". I loved the book and Noel Piper, who is the author does a great job of helping the reader cast their own vision for a God-centered home and family. In her chapter that is specifically about Christmas, she poses some questions that I have been pondering this afternoon.
"Do others see why we celebrate? How will our home look if our celebration is a picture of anticipation and waiting for God's plan to be completed, a picture of joy in the salvation he has begun for us? What visible things will fill our house as we celebrate what God has done through Jesus?"
They are the type of questions that can be skimmed over easily, but if you really think about them, they are are the questions that can make you stop and honestly ask, Hmm. How does our house look different? Do our children notice a difference? Can they tell that God is being cherished. That He is our treasure. Our hope?
Today's advent candle was the candle of hope. As we lit the candle we were guided to remember the hope we have in Christ. Our friends, Shelly and Patrick and their beautiful daughter Taylor lit the candle today at church. They read "Hope is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at the light of this candle we celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ." I want our house to be a light shining in our dark neighbourhood. I want this Christmas season to be a reflection of who we are, of who created and now sustains us. I want those who love us to know that we have been through a lot and God never left our side and He is our hope.
Everyday for the rest of this season I will be reading, praying and sharing what God is continuing to teach me about the season of Advent and Christmas.