God has us on a journey. One of adventure. Of learning. Of battles. Of love. Growth is this journey realized. So here is our story.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A holiday as it should be

This Thanksgiving was everything a holiday should be...quality time with family, an abundance of yummy comfort food, cozy times around the fire, and plenty of laughter from kids playing. We couldn't have asked for more.
For the first time in 10 years, we got to spend a holiday with Brandon's brother Zac and his family (Hillary, Malakai & Kihana), and Brandon's mom and stepdad. We got a couple days with Z & H and kids in our home before making the road trip up to Grandma Jojo and Grandpa Gordon's cabin in Northern Arizona. Of course, we had to take Z & H to Sedona--our absolutely favorite place in Arizona. (I've said this before, right?:-) And it did not disappoint.It was so rewarding to watch our next generation get excited about hiking and nature!
Then it was 4 days out of civilization. No TV, no internet, no paved roads, hardly any cell phone service, and solar-powered electricity. Always an adventure, and always a retreat.
There was baseball, mountain biking, and horseshoes.The cousins even got to have Christmas morning together!And one of the most special things was getting to watch Soren and Malakai love on each other. They are almost the same age difference as Brandon and Zac, which of course reminded everyone of the Sawyer boys as kids. I'm sure Grandma Jojo was in heaven!At one point on our caravan drive to the cabin Brandon said, "Right now, life feels exactly as it should be." Thank you, God, for glimpses such as these.

What does Advent mean to you?

The meaning of Advent has been weaving through my inner thoughts over the past week. It's a term I rarely heard spoken as a child and definitely never celebrated in my Evangelical upbringing. But as an adult who now runs in more progressive/liturgical Christian circles, I hear this word regularly and only wish I knew of its meaning. It's more than calendars, small presents, and candle lightings, right? I am hoping that Advent is more than some "25 days of Christmas" sort of thing. So what is it, exactly?
My sister and her husband have decided to celebrate Advent this year by doing something Christmas-y each day in December...ice skating, going to light parades, making Christmas cards, etc.
A blogger in my church fellowship is writing on his personal journey with the weekly themes of Advent.My little home church welcomed the season of Advent last night with a candlelit labyrinth. We spent time walking and reflecting on our journeys and the things we carry, symbolized by stones we literally carried in our hands along the walk. We stopped at various stations along the way to offer thanks, appreciate God's goodness, participate in hope, and experience peace as we let go of the stones/burdens of our lives.
Yet still, I am searching for what is at the heart of the season of Advent. I have heard it is to be a time that we prepare for the coming of our Lord. Beautiful language that often evades me. And so I open up this conversation to you...
What does the Advent season mean to you this year?