Today is the first Sunday in Advent. Christmas is coming.
My ideal Christmas would probably involved sending and receiving Christmas cards - because despite the bad press they get, I think they are a lovely way to show gratitude for the year past, express hope for the year to come and remind people of the joy it is to celebrate the birth of our precious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - and then on Christmas day, go to church and catch up with the family for a cup of tea and a mincepie or two.
Of course it isn't that straight forward. There are lots of extras. And in amongst all the extras I find it all too easy to take my eye off the ball. I lose my focus on Jesus.
So this year, while our boys are reading through the first 24 or 25 chapters of The Jesus Story Book for their Advent calendar readings, I am looking forward to reading my way through Come Thou Long Expected Jesus - a book of 22 readings focussing on the events of the Christmas story, mostly excerpts from longer pieces penned by the greats of old (Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin and Charles Spurgeon) through to the modern greats (John Piper, Time Keller and JI Packer) and lots in between. The list of writers is impressive and the chapters are short. Perfect!
I came upon this little book from the good reviews it received here, here and here and have had it tucked away in my bookshelf for most of the year, waiting for December to arrive. I am looking forward to catching a few minutes every day for a chapter of this book with a cup of tea, praying that it will help me to keep my eye on the ball and give Right perspective to the unusual amount of activity that this time of year seems to generate.
And I hope it lives up to expectation because I have given away about eight copies during the year for birthday presents - so quite a number of my friends will be reading along too. But for now, I'm off to church and after that I'd better go and dig out the boys' Advent calendar and get that ready for the 1st December!