Our family begins the celebration of Advent on December 1 each year, but as we flipped the calendar to the last month of the year this time, I did not feel like celebrating. In many ways the year 2005 has been a tough one, and the fall was particularly depressing. But December 1 rolled around, and my children were ready for Advent.

Yet despite my Scrooge-like attitude, or probably because of it, once again this year I am utterly convinced of the importance of setting aside a special time to focus on the incarnation of our Lord and Savior. In our family devotions during the month of December we read the passages predicting Christ’s birth, and then the fulfillment of those passages. As I imagine God humbling Himself so totally that He would be born as a helpless newborn, allowing Himself to be swaddled and cared for by human people whom He Himself created, it blows my mind. I look at my little children, with all their limitations, and try to comprehend what it meant for God to humble Himself that way. I look at my wretched self and am even more amazed that He would find me and other humans worth coming to earth, living as a man, and then dying for. Love beyond comprehension!

Yes, this year more than ever, I needed this set apart time to ponder the Incarnation. Rather than focus on myself, I needed to be reminded of what He has done for us, letting His humility be the example for my life.

In addition to our family worship times, here are some other highlights from the past month:

Funniest Moment: Christmas Eve morning, while doing routine Saturday chores, Peter plugged the vacuum cleaner into a string of Christmas lights on the tree. Laughter filled the house as one after another came to investigate the cause of the explosion.

Best Christmas Party Ever: Our small group joined with two other groups at the E’s house for a lively evening of singing, reading Scripture, and pure fun. I don’t think I’ve ever heard “Go Tell It on the Mountain” sung with more gusto.

Outdoor Baptism: Kristen was baptized early in the month. Since we don’t currently have a building, the baptismal was a feed trough, and there was snow falling as the steam poured out of the tub which had been filled with water from the boiler. Maybe the best part was hearing her testimony, especially the long version we heard the previous night in our living room.

A New Beginning: We had a moving (literally and figuratively) groundbreaking on our new property as we tromped around the perimeter of the building, stopping at each corner to sing, read Scripture, and pray.

Most Special Gifts: Our oldest seven children give one another gifts through a draw system. This year they decided all the gifts should be homemade. What a joy it has been to watch each of them working on something special for their draw partner, and then proudly wear the new item. Faith now sports an amazing hat with rabbits and carrots all over it, knit by Kara. Amanda wears a lovely pink scarf made by Peter, while Kristen has a new apron sewn by Amanda. Jonathan sewed a fleece blanket for Kara which she often wears like a cape in our chilly home. Andrew made a bookshelf to fit on Peter’s bed, while Jonathan has a cool new pillowcase sewn by Faith. Andrew’s gift from Kristen was a hand-knit hat which does not have carrots or rabbits, for which he is glad.


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