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Monday, Third Week of Advent

"Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God."
-- Romans 12:2

What's It All About?

Since my younger self incessantly focused on Barbies and building
snowmen, I failed to muster any sort of appreciation for my parents when they dragged me to church each Sunday, especially at Christmastime. Annual rehearsals for the lackluster Christmas pageant led my mind to wander from the religious significance of Christmas we were trying to depict, and the brutal torture that was the Christmas Eve sermon had me lusting for the eggnog and toys waiting for me at home.

The significance of Christmas transformed from Santa's sleigh of gifts to family traditions and events as I matured. I began to associate Christmas with decorating the tree, nestling up to my father's powerful side while he read The Nutcracker, and taking family drives to see the tackiest light display in Connecticut, yearly available for our viewing pleasure. Even though Christmas also meant being squished to my grandmother's bosom and suffering her prolonged dinner lectures each year, I eagerly looked forward to the unity Christmas would bring to our family.

At some point in my teenage years, I found myself in Charlie Brown's
position, exclaiming "Can anyone tell me what Christmas is really all
about?" It had suddenly dawned on me, during one of the few times I actually listened to the entire Christmas Eve sermon, that religious aspects of Christmas were indeed significant. Christmas is not just about merriment and material events, but also about the birth of a Savior. This birth served as a symbol of hope for people living in their darkest hour. Hearing that the Lord had come down to Earth in human form led people to rejoice for the better future to come. I concluded that my family's happiness on Christmas had been made possible only through this momentous birth, that we all celebrate and appreciate the God-delivered sentiments of Bethlehem even to this day.

As always, my parents were right; Church was a worthwhile educational experience. That night I stomped up to my room to read about Christ's birth in my Bible.

--Michelle Butler '06