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December 02, 2021
By Donald M. Larson, PhD

After the Protestant Reformation, many of the church traditions were thrown out. Some denominations rejected the celebration of Christmas and Easter. Many of these traditions date back to the early church and were celebrated by Christians in the early centuries of the church. We should all recognize that traditions add emotion and meaning to an event. We all have our own family Thanksgiving or Christmas traditions. When my daughters established their own families, they developed their own family traditions. Traditions are not bad or evil but can make events more special and can help us focus on what is important.

Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and is the first day of the church calendar, so happy new year! Historically, the Advent season begins with prayer and repentance and then shifts towards hope, joy, and anticipation. Advent, which means “coming,” is similar to the Lenten Season and usually involves fasting, prayer, service, and reading of the Bible in preparation for a 12-day celebration of Jesus’ birth. Modern American culture in its focus on consumerism and materialism has shifted the Christmas celebration back, so that it begins before Thanksgiving and ends on December 25th.

I am listening to Christmas music, buying gifts, and attending Christmas parties while trying to keep my attention on my preparation through fasting, which reminds me to focus on why Christ came into the world and what He had done for His people. Advent is a tradition that can   draw us closer to our LORD Jesus Christ. May we begin preparing our hearts for the great celebration of our LORD and Savior who was born of a virgin and will return someday in glory.