I had an unusual experience the other day; I went into a fast-food store to have a quick lunch and ended up in a conversation with a store manager. We talked about some "general things" then talked about the coming of Christmas and how that would effect his store. (Open till 10 on Christmas Eve but closed on Christmas Day). Then he told me how he and his wife would share Christmas morning. As I listened I was stunned; this is a story to share...
Advent is a season of joy. The theme of joy is found in many of our Advent and Christmas hymns: "Joy to the world the lord is come...." "Good Christian friends rejoice..." "Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant." The list goes on and on. On the third Sunday of Advent we light the candle of Joy on our Advent wreath. In some ways there is an expectation that even those who are "down in the dumps" will have their hearts filled with joy during the seasons of Advent and Christmas. But even though this is a season of joy, for many this is also a season that is filled with sorrow and grief...
The season of Advent began November 28th. As a part of our Advent tradition we light a candle each week on the Advent wreath symbolizing the qualities of: hope, love, joy, and peace. On Christmas Eve we will light the white center candle - a symbol of the presence of Christ who is the "light of the world." As we continue through the season of Advent I've been struck by the fact that perhaps there has never been a time when the qualities these candles represent are more needed in our world and in our personal lives as well...
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.