I would imagine most of you are reading this on Wednesday, perhaps as you take a break from all the planning and preparations for your Thanksgiving Day gatherings. No doubt you will be busy tonight and especially tomorrow morning. But try not to get tense; it will all get done. It always does.

As you join loved ones tomorrow, do yourself a favor at some point. Lean back and look around at the food and the faces, thanking God for a full table and for those you see around it, and remembering those who are no longer with you physically. Honor them for the roles they played in making the scene before you possible.

Certainly a topic of conversation will be holiday shopping, with the traditional opening of the retail free-for-all coming Friday, though it seems the shopping season has been underway since, maybe, April. And with this as well, there is much to do, but it will get done. It always does.

One factor that helps for a calm shopping experience: before going out the door, realize and accept that traffic is going to be congested and store checkout lines will be long. The people behind the counters are doing the best they can. Choose graciousness, patience and love instead of impatience, frustration and anger.

In other words, choose to be a visible icon of Jesus Christ. We are believers, after all! Enjoy the day, get things done, and remember that you don’t have to blow apart your budget. Stay within your means.

Now we need to look toward Sunday and the beginning of Advent.

Thursday and Friday of this week will likely have been pretty busy; not necessarily unpleasant, but plenty noisy. To do Advent as it needs to be done, life’s noise needs to be pushed aside.

And in the midst of one of the noisiest times of the year, how are you going to accomplish that and create quiet time for yourself and God? You really should have already been thinking about this, but now it’s crunch time.

We need to enter into the quiet of Advent in order to enter more deeply and fully into the celebration of Christmas, grasping more completely the true meaning behind the season to come.

Christmas isn’t about mountains of brightly colored boxes and bags. It’s not about how much money you spent in comparison to another family member.

It is about the birth of a child in a Bethlehem stable, a child who continues to change the world.

It is about love, not just for some, but for all.

Oh come let us

adore Him.