While we say Advent is a four-week season, it isn't always. It is actually a four-Sunday season, and since this year Christmas falls on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, it's really only a three-week season this time. The Gospel reading about Mary and Gabriel, probably the one we most associate with this time of year, doesn't come until next Sunday, Advent 4. But this is the last week before Christmas, and it can be such a hectic time for so many, i don't want the idea of Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem, worrying about and then preparing for the birth of her child, to get lost.
I always find it helpful - when the realization hits that Christmas is nearly upon us and how will we ever get everything done - to remember why and for whom we are doing this. Whatever the coming week and the days after will bring for you - if they seem overwhelming because you have more to do than you have time to do it, remember that all the hurrying, all the preparations, all the seemingly endless tasks that may still be looming - we have a choice about how we approach them. We can see them as things we have to do that we rather might not, things we should do even if we wonder how we will manage them, or we could view them as preparations for the coming of Jesus into the world.
It may seem trite, but when i get so wrapped in and worried about all the things i still have to do, i try to imagine that i am really doing them for Jesus, to show him that he is important to me and that i love him. That may not make the tasks go more quickly or seem more enjoyable (although often they really are, if i stop and think about it), but it does help me with my annual attempt to make Advent more holy and less hectic.
I will especially try to remember this next Sunday, when after our 9:00am Advent 4 service, we tackle the herculean task of decorating the church for Christmas all in a few hours. Many hands make light work, so i hope you will join in our labors as we prepare to celebrate again the birth of our Savior.