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    Releasing Expectations

    Snowflakes fall silently from the sky as bright-eyed little faces peer out frost-covered windows. Best friends gather around a candlelit table, dishes clanking, laughter wafting in the air. Family members from far away places knock at your door, excitement erupting into hugs and hellos the moment you welcome them inside. An ideal Christmas is easy to imagine. But it’s hard to live out. Despite what commercials portray and Facebook depicts, life’s celebrations are often far from perfect. Our children misbehave at the worst possible moment. Our plans get altered at the last minute. Our family’s disfunction erupts at the table. If there’s anything I’m learning this Christmas season, it’s to…

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    Steps to a Calmer, More Christ-Focused Advent

    The word ‘advent’ comes from ‘ad’ meaning ‘to’ and from ‘vent,’ a form of a Latin word meaning ‘coming.’ Advent is the season when Christians look back on the first advent, or coming, of Messiah, and we look forward to the second advent—his return. New Year’s Day in the church year, which follows the life and ministry of our Lord, begins this year on December 1—the day many Christians count as the first day of Advent. During the four weeks leading up to Christmas, a lot of churches observe Advent as a season of expectant waiting and the preparation of our hearts. Two millennia ago as Israel awaited the Messiah,…