by Sandra Allen Lovelace       @SandraALovelace       #TimetobeYOU!

The ten-year-old wiped at the milk drops on his Clemson t-shirt. “What are these candles for, Dad? We do this every year, but I don’t really know.” Another chocolate chip cookie disappeared between his lips.

Pete smiled at his ultimate Tigers fan. “Well, son. They mark the Advent season and the meaning of that has changed over time.” The boy’s eyes cut to the side over his bulging cheeks.

“Hummpht …” His father raised a hand, fingers up.

“Timothy James, you chew and swallow while I explain.” He lifted his napkin as a signal. “The root of the word is adventus, a Greek word that means coming. In the earliest churches, Advent marked the time when new believers were coming to faith. Baptisms were held in January during Epiphany when people marked the coming of the Magi. You remember them … the wise guys.” A burp rang out.

“Sorry, Dad.” He dragged a sleeve across his mouth. “I’m listening.”

“After a while though, people started to connect Advent to Jesus’ birth. Only the celebration was about his second coming … when He’ll return in power and majesty.” He moved the plate of cookies to the far side of the oval table. “Today most people see Advent as the season to prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus as a baby to rescue the world from sin. And Advent lasts for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.”

“So which ones are we … the coming to faithsecond coming, or coming as a baby people?”

Pete tousled his son’s unruly, blonde curls. “Our family celebrates both the first coming of Jesus as our ransom, and His second coming as our Risen Savior. How’s that?”

A crafty smile spread across his face. “Can I light tonight’s candle?”

“Yes, son. Your patience earned you the privilege.”

May the song  below lift our hearts in gratitude for the first Advent as we look forward to the second.


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