Fall had not officially hit the calendar, that didn’t seem to matter to the clerk loading the store shelves with Christmas ornaments. Nor the customer who filled her shopping cart with ornaments almost as fast as they were shelved. The image immediately initiated a mental “to do” list of everything I would have to prepare for the holidays.
Many years ago, during the first holiday season after my divorce, it seemed my “to do” list had transformed into an uncontrollable monster. Balancing feelings of grief and anger while trying to maintain what would hopefully be a normal Christmas for my two young children began to overwhelm. I quickly lost the hope and joy of Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, as I drive the children home from the candlelight service, I was tired and thinking of getting the children to bed and the house ready for Santa’s visit. As we neared the house, while looking out the window at the starlit sky, my daughter quietly asked, “Mom, I wonder what Mary was thinking around this time the night before Jesus was born.”
Each year as the calendar hustles us into the season of Advent, I am reminded of my daughter’s question. What are my thoughts during the season of Advent, are they focused on a “to do” list or the anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ and the hope it brings. Restore me, God!
On what or where are your thoughts focused during this season of Advent?
Rev. Valerie Harvard, Covington Mill UMC,
North Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
 During this blessed season of Advent we will enjoy together daily devotions which are shared by Local Pastors and Associate Members of the United Methodist Church from around the United States. I had the privilege of participating in this project, and look forward to sharing these daily uplifting thoughts with you over the season from now (Thanksgiving) to January 1st. Each author will be identified, and we thank them in advance for each contribution.