Falling leaves are hard to catch, which is exactly what makes falling leaves super fun to catch. Especially if you’re four. I can’t recall the last time that I’ve tried to catch a falling leaf, but I know I’ve done it before. Have you ever tried? It is wonderful fun. My daughter is constantly reminding me about the simple joys of life, ever eager to stop and look at an interesting flower, or a creeping-crawling beetle, or yes, even to catch falling leaves. And wow, they sure all falling right now in Newport News.

In the holiday season of Advent, life passes us by a million miles a second and before we know it the trees are bare, the New Year has been rung in and the decorations that light our neighborhoods and living rooms must come down just as agonizingly as they went up. And for some of us, this might mean not even bothering to “get into the Spirit,” because why? It’s a lot of work. It’s over almost before it began. And maybe we’re just tired of the routine.

The season of Advent is anything but routine. Yes, we decorate and yes there are festivities and yes there are a lot of things that happen in a short span of time and it’s easy to miss them and it’s easy to not want to do it all. But all of the festivities and all of the lights (gracious, the lights – you think they’d have thought of a way to keep them from getting tangled from one year to the next that does not involve a $34.99 plastic wheel from Target that only holds one or two strands, but I digress) it all serves to break the routine. To change our behavior. To make us stop and catch falling leaves.

Advent signals a time to remember and a time to look forward: to remember that Christ the savior was born in Bethlehem in a manger; and, to look forward to Christ’s coming again, like a thief in the night, for we say, Come, Lord Jesus, come. But Advent is also a time to be present, here and now. We can’t remember the birth and long for the return if we can’t stop to feel Christ in our hearts right now. Isn’t that an amazing gift?

Christ a savior is born, and his name is Emmanuel, God with us. I hope you all can get into the spirit this year as we marvel at God’s gift to the world. Go outside, catch some leaves, string some lights, sing some songs, and enjoy Christmas.