As we enter the last months of the year, many people begin to plan how they will celebrate the holiday season. Some wonder where they will spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Others how they will decorate their houses or what gifts they will buy. During this same time, Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Messiah. The Advent season, which means "arrival" and precedes Christmas and Epiphany, provides us with a special opportunity to renew ourselves and prepare to receive Christ and celebrate his presence in our midst.
Most of us are familiar with the events the Bible mentions about the birth of Jesus. We know the prophecies about his birth, the announcement of the angel to Mary and Joseph, the census, the manger, the shepherds, the child wrapped in a manger and the visit of the Sages of the East [Wise Men]. These are all important and well known events in the Christian tradition.