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Advent is a time to get ready for arrival of Jesus

Columnist Emily Carson this is season of anticipation, excitement.

Holy Everything — Emily Carson column sig

Finn and Maeve, our dogs, get very excited about the prospect of peanut butter.

Lately my husband, Justin, and I have been scent training the pups with kibble and peanut butter around the house. The two of them go into the dining room while we hide the treats. Then they have to pause and sit for a moment before we say “go.” After that, they joyfully sniff their way around in search of nutty goodness.

For the minute that it takes for us to hide the treats, Maeve (age 1) and Finn (age 7) are full of anticipation. Their tails wag and their paws tap giddily across the floor. Their enthusiasm builds exponentially in the time before the scenting begins.

The joy of anticipation isn’t just for canines. It’s for humans, too, and we’ve just entered a season that is full of this special emotional state. Advent is an annual season of anticipation. It begins Sunday, Nov. 28, and brings us all the way to the doorstep of Christmas: Dec. 24.

During the next four weeks, we prepare to honor the birth of Jesus. It’s also a time in which we get ready for Jesus to someday come again.

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The Latin word upon which this season is based is adventus and it means “coming” and “arrival.” The season of Advent is a time to get ready for the arrival of Jesus and all he brings into the world -- peace, grace, justice, disruption, hope and healing.

Wreaths, prayers, daily devotionals, and midweek worship services are all ways of intentionally engaging in Advent. For the “Holy Everything” column, each Saturday of Advent will provide a theme alongside a corresponding story from the Gospel of Luke. We’ll spend time with the angels, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and Jesus. Each reflection will conclude with a prayer for you to use throughout that week. I hope that the space we share will be a useful companion on your Advent sojourn.

Before we start our travels, take a deep breath. Make your way right here, right now, to this present moment.

Give yourself permission to connect with wonder and the divine these next four weeks. Remember that as we look forward to Christmas, we wait expectantly not only for an infant in a manger, but for a transformed world in which justice reigns, wounds are healed and all is made new.

Create space inside your heart for a time of anticipation.

A prayer for the first week of Advent:

Creator of every season, we give thanks for Advent. Over the next four weeks, grant us open hearts ready to embrace the joy of anticipation. Help us to slow down and notice the mercies and mysteries of each day as we make our way toward Christmas. Amen.

Emily Carson is a Lutheran pastor. Visit her website, emilyannecarson.com .

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