Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Week 1: Hope

If you ask my best friend Brooke - 'what is Lisa's favorite season of the year?' - I'd bet that she'd get it right. My favorite season is Advent. Why does Brooke know this? She knows this because we traveled to Germany & Prague together 4 years ago, during the season of Advent. Let me tell you, those Europeans know how to celebrate the coming of Christmas! They had these huge, outdoor Christmas Markets with lots of hand made goods, sweets, and mulled wine (something Brooke loved). While I was there, I was searching for an Advent Calendar. I had heard about them from a friend, years ago. Unfortunately, I didn't know how to describe what I was looking for... and I didn't speak any German... So shopping for that item was a bit of a bust! Hopefully some day I'll find one, though. My understanding of said Calendar is that it is made of wood, with little doors that open. That's all I know though! So if anyone knows what I am taking about, and where I can find one, let me know!! Probably not something I need until I have kids, so I figure I have time to look for it!

Anyways. Back to the Season of Advent. I have so many fond memories of celebrating Advent as a child. Every night during Advent, we'd light the candle(s) and say a prayer. Then mom would play Christmas Carols and us kids would sing along. Seriously. As I type this, it sounds like something from a"Hallmark Special" or something! But that was my childhood. As we got older, that traditional fell by the wayside due to busy schedules and other commitments. I'll never forget those winter nights spent around the Advent Wreath, though, and hope to continue that tradition some day when I have a family.

For now, I am celebrating it on my own in my condo. Each Sunday I'll light a candle and prepare for the week of Advent. The Christmas Season always flies by; with all the holiday parties, baking, and shopping, it's easy for the days to go by in a blur. Hopefully by slowing down on Sunday and thinking about the reason for the season, it'll make time go more slowly!

The theme of the first week of Advent is "Hope." Feeling a sense of hope, in my opinion, is crucial to a person's happiness. If I am honest, there have definitely been times where I've felt a little bit hopeless. I give into those feelings during moments of weakness, but usually snap out of them quickly, most often due to a conversation with my mom, Brooke, or Heidi. If I'm feeling particularly low, I have a bible verse that I like to read. My Grandma Dotzenrod emailed it to me when I told her about my recent break-up with Ryan. I was feeling pretty darn hopeless. Grandma Janet is a wise woman though, and knew the perfect words to help comfort me and give me hope. Hopefully they help you if you are ever feeling down and hopeless.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)


aimee said...

i'm excited to read your series of posts on advent!! i think a lot of people forget about the advent season (probably myself included). it's a great time to reflect on why we celebrate xmas in the first place.
also, i really like that bible verse. i pick a different verse every week that i think about and reflect on for the week and i think i will use this one for this week!

Matt said...

Advent really is a great time of the year. I also appreciate the fact that my family celebrated it and hope to continue it with Mariah. If people looking in think we're filming a Hallmark special, then that's all the better :)