Sometimes with all the hustle and bustle at this time of year, it can be easy to forget what this season is really all about. We get "wrapped" up with so much else going on: shopping, trying to find all the right gifts, decorating, Christmas party-ing, cooking, traveling, and don't forget all the wrapping, etc. So much is out there to distract us, from the sales to the new tech-y toys. I found myself getting wrapped up with my Christmas shopping list and then stopped and realized how much I was in the rush of the season. I'd forgotten to acknowledge the whole meaning behind it during my shopping fury. In the Church calendar, Advent falls before Christmas. It's a time to prepare, anticipate, and get ready for the birth of Jesus. When I was a kid we had chocolate Advent calendars. Each day we'd open a little door, read a Scripture from the Bible about the coming of Christ or prophesies about His coming, and then my sister and I would get to split a piece of chocolate in half and eat! We loved those calendars. I think likely at the time we looked much more forward to eating the chocolate than the birth of Christ. But I think it still taught us about the season of Advent, about being excited about something, anticipating someONE. This time of year has such excitement associated with it. We have Christmas carols whose lyrics get us excited about the season and there are radio stations devoted to only playing said Christmas carols 247 so we can really get excited. There are Christmas tree lots everywhere, the stores and malls are all decorated for Christmas. Why even last year in Raleigh we got snow for Christmas and had a real "white Christmas". It's fun to be excited and enjoy the season, but it's so easy to forget Who is at the center. Have you gotten too hurried this season? Is your focus on gifts and Santa and the things of Christmas rather than the Who of Christmas? When I see couples or families for counseling we spend time talking about their family traditions, their rituals. Traditions and rituals bond families together in unique ways. I talk a little about this concept in a blog post here and here, if you'd like to read more. What traditions does your family have this time of year? Are there any you might want to add?