Prepare for Christmas

It’s the last day in November. With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s definitely time to prepare for Christmas.

The stores have been preparing for weeks with decorations, music and displays to entice shoppers to buy. Lights have been strung downtown and candy canes, toy soldiers and bells adorn light posts. I’ve noticed several cars with trees tied to their roofs the last couple of days, and several friends have posted pictures of their homes decorated for the season.

And of course, you can’t turn on the television, radio or computer without hearing about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, door buster deals and predictions about the total sales anticipated during the coming weeks in the busiest shopping time of the year. But it’s not shopping or decorating or baking or addressing cards that I’m suggesting you do to prepare.

The past several years have been filled with campaigns to put CHRIST back into Christmas by those who are appalled by a greeting of Happy Holidays. However, more recently I’ve noticed an effort by a few, to put CHRIST back into Christmas by recognizing Advent, the time to prepare for and anticipate the coming of Christ. I think that’s a much better campaign.

Yesterday was the first day of the Advent season, the time to prepare. It’s a good time to slow down instead of getting caught up in all of the hustle and bustle thrust upon us at this time of year. Slow down and prepare for Christmas by celebrating Advent. If you’re not sure how to do that, I’d like suggest you visit the blog of First United Methodist Church of Ocala where you’ll find daily Bible verses, readings, music or videos that can be a source of inspiration as you prepare for Christmas.




Advent Photo Challenge

I’m always looking for another photo challenge, and I’m excited that Ocala First United Methodist Church has developed an Advent photo challenge which begins next Sunday, November 30th.

A grown-up version of an Advent calendar, the goal is for this to be a different way to meditate into this season by participating in the Advent Photo-a-day on Instagram @ocalafirstumc.

  • Step 1 Follow Ocala First United Methodist Church on Instagram @ocalafirstumc
  • Step 2 Copy the list of words and start thinking about images that could illustrate each word
  • Step 3 Take pictures and post on Instagram using #OcalaLight
  • Step 4 Check out the photos posted and LIKE and/or COMMENT
  • Step 5 Invite others to participate


This year’s theme is “Advent 2014: the light shines in the darkness” (John 1:1-14)

We’re celebrating (remembering) that Christ came into this world. God, the light, the Word, the life came into the brokenness (the darkness) of our world—in order to redeem and heal and save it. The season of Advent reminds us to look for light in those dark places, but it also gives us the courage to look into those dark places, knowing that Christ has come and is coming again. Advent calls us to confront our darkness (and the world’s darkness) and wait for—look for, prepare for—Christ.

Remember, this isn’t an all or nothing proposition. If you miss a day, that’s ok. Post later or skip a day and post the next. And if taking photos isn’t your thing, check out the photos posted by others.

I’m getting ready for the Advent Photo Challenge! (And follow me on Instagram @mcdeea)

Having trouble reading the words in the graphic above? Here’s another, easy to read list.
Nov 30: Advent (Coming)
Dec 1: Darkness
Dec 2: Awake
Dec 3: Promise
Dec 4: Anticipate/Await
Dec 5: Hope
Dec 6: Peace
Dec 7: Beginning
Dec 8: The Word.
Dec 9: Spirit
Dec 10: Light
Dec 11: People
Dec 12: Joy
Dec 13: Good News
Dec 14: Witness
Dec 15: Preparation
Dec 16: Path/Way
Dec 17: Holy
Dec 18: Ordinary
Dec 19: Love
Dec 20: Blessed
Dec 21: Believe
Dec 22: Neighborhood
Dec 23: Welcome
Dec 24: Glory
Dec 25: Rejoice! Celebrate!