This will be my fifth time preaching on the themes of Advent. That truly amazes me.
A few years ago, I was really worried that I couldn't find any new ways to preach on such familiar themes. As it turns out, it was just a down year. Last year went much better, in part because I actively sought out new resources to consult, namely Borg and Crossan's The First Christmas and Scot McKnight's The Real Mary. Both are excellent. But both provided some fresh insight for my preparations.
What are "the familiar themes," anyway? I have a fairly worn list of them, many of which I touch on in one way or another every year. Besides the themes provided by the Advent wreath (hope, peace, joy, love), you'll probably hear me talk about preparation of the heart, the evils of commercialism, why we need John the Baptist, how sanitary and banal we've made the nativity story and its characters, and the incarnation. There are others, but these seem to be mentioned every year without fail.
The big change for this year, of course, will be that there is one more person in our home to celebrate the holidays this year. I've been looking forward to this. Coffeeson is fascinated by lights anyway, so I can't wait to see his first reaction to the Christmas tree once we put it up. I can imagine him sitting on the floor, just staring up at it. That'll be such a cool moment. At the same time, we'll need to keep him away from the presents. He loves crinkly paper, so we'll be in danger of having to re-wrap some gifts if he gets too close.
Blog-wise, I think I'll continue what I started last year, which was blogging Advent thoughts every Monday. They'll be a combination of post-worship musings, theology, and family traditions. I've found them to be a good practice for the season, so I'll continue it this year.
In the meantime, of course, is Thanksgiving. We'll be heading to my in-laws' and celebrating on Wednesday. That leaves Thursday free to eat leftovers and watch the Lions lose. Oh, to be able to root for a winning football team.
Happy Pre-Advent. Or something.