By Christine V. Hides, Director of Christian Education

…behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

“Behold” is not a word we often hear outside of the story of the angel proclaiming Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. “Beholding exhorts us to stop and notice something important and urgent,” says the author of this article about the tradition of opening Advent calendar windows.

Some translations of the Bible replace the King James’ language with the more familiar command to “Look” or “See.” On Sunday we will begin the four week season of Advent, of getting ready for Christmas. During Advent we pay attention to what the ancient story of a tiny baby means for our lives today.  We prepare to encounter again the mystery of God’s love coming to earth.

There are many ways to slow down and behold what God’s love is doing here and now. Lighting candles, setting the table with a purple cloth, using an Advent calendar, reading a Christmas book before bed, or saying a special dinner prayer are spiritual practices that invite us into the true mystery and wonder of the season.