I’ve always loved Advent, it was a huge part of the Christmas festivities at my house growing up. Lighting of the Advent wreath, singing of carols as a family, sharing daily calendars and devotionals; all of these were central. As an adult, with my own family, I’ve been trying to figure out what Advent will look like at our house. Doing simple things with the kids can turn into just another stressful project, if I’m not careful. The point of Advent, at least to me is to slow down and do less so we can experience more.

At our harried pace of life, it can be difficult to tap into the biblical stories in a new way. To meditate on Mary’s deep love of God that she would risk her life to be the mother of the Messiah. To rejoice with the shepherd’s as they shared the good news. To wonder with the magi as they traveled into a country and culture not their own in search of a God they did not yet believe in.  To fully appreciate how long the nation of Israel had been waiting for their deliverer.

These are deep and sometimes complex thoughts. I find that the Advent season brings up many emotions in my own heart. I find myself analyzing the direction of my life and wondering if I’m really following God’s direction for my life. I am in awe of the manger and what it stands for; a God that gave up everything to become like me. As a mother I relate to Mary with amazement and yet sadness. Did she know she would have to give up her son? That after that first night he would belong to the world, not just to her?

When I wrote, As We Wait, these were the kind of thoughts I had in mind. I wanted to reexamine some of the traditional biblical stories in a way that would allow the reader to see the characters as more human. I also wanted to include scriptures beyond the typical birth accounts in the gospels. Yes, those are wonderful and important. But the birth of Jesus was the capstone event of a pattern that was being formed through the whole of the Old Testament. I wanted to appreciate the process not just the event of the Incarnation itself.

If you are looking for an opportunity to really slow down and appreciate the journey this Advent then I recommend incorporating As We Wait into your personal liturgy. Make the time to grow closer to God and your family through the celebration of Advent.