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Advent 2018 – Tuesday, December 11

When thinking about what Christmas smells like, the scent of fresh pine stands out above all other smells. Growing up, my family’s tradition was to hike into the woods to find and cut down the family Christmas tree. There was often bickering and complaining about which tree was the best, how cold it was and when we could go home, but my parents always turned it into a positive experience focusing us on the true meaning of Christmas. Jenn and I have continued this tradition with our kids in order to create fond memories and generate meaningful conversations. The tree is a focal point to our family’s Christmas traditions as we make an effort to decorate it together and often sit around the tree reading the first Christmas story or singing songs.

As I look back on my childhood and observe my kids, I remember this highly anticipated time each year where it felt like time was standing still as we eagerly awaited Christmas morning. This anticipation generates discussions comparing it to the second coming of Christ and how Christmastime is a highly focused remembrance of heaven coming to earth. It is everything we long for as Christians. The tree is a symbol of hope and longing for true love, joy and peace on earth!

Ryan Odell, elder