There are moments when the things my children say take me totally off guard. Listening to the sweet little voices coming from their young mouths yet hearing something totally unexpected and shocking. Most of these times it gives me opportunity to reflect on my parenting and try to discover where they learned such a thing. Sometimes we all need a little gut-check upon realizing how our children are piecing together the world. For me, today was that very occasion.

Advent is the season of arrival; the anticipation of the coming of God. We count down on the Advent Wreath each Sunday as we light another candle and move closer to Christmas, to the great arrival of God all those years ago in the little town of Bethlehem. We celebrate the fact that our God is not a God who stays far off, is only a dream or an empty promise. No, our God is a God who comes. He advents with His people. He arrives and His arrival changes things.

By Joel A. Hess

Every December, besides Christmas trees and carolers, we can expect a couple other accoutrements of the holiday season. First, someone will freak out over Starbucks cups and store greeters who exchange the word “Christmas” with “holiday.” Second, pastors will moan loudly and publicly about the fact that it isn’t officially Christmas yet. It’s advent!