All Over Again

Salvation belongs to the Lord;
Your blessing be on your people!
~Psalm 3:8

Yesterday a pea coat mist hung at the base of the Appalachian foothills and stretched to the delta valley of the Mississippi. Through the veil we saw spent cotton fields, the remnants of Southern Gold hanging limply from their pods. Ribbons of birds, the migrating masses, filled the sky, and they swirled, ducked, and dodged every which way. They’ll make their way further south, wintering in Texas or northern Mexico. The southland is falling asleep, again. It’s this way every winter.

On the first Sunday of Advent, we travel home from north Alabama. We watch for twinkle lights and David’s star. The people of Palestine–Arkansas, that is–are putting out their Christmas decorations again.  Those big blow-up Santas and snow globes are visible from the highway and Jude asks, “is Santa really real, Daddy?” I turn and see that look of sincere child-like wonder and cannot bring myself to lie. “No,” I shake my head, “but Christmas is.”  He smiles.

The Carol of the Bells chimes on the radio and Amber turns in her seat. She sings every word to the boys, wearing her best choir face–eyebrows raised, mouth opening widely, head bobbing in rhythm.  They all giggle and when it’s over, Ian says, “sing it again, Mommy.” Luckily, we find the carol playing on another station and she repeats the scene.

Christmas is here,
bringing good cheer,
to young and old,
meek and the bold!

It’s the first Sunday of Advent, and as nature begins to groan with the onset of winter there is an awakening in the hearts of men. Some may misconstrue it, misdirect it.   But others see through, know that Christ is coming to the mangers of Palestine, Colorado Springs, and Des Moines.  They pursue the joy in it all, the traditions that point to new life.

“He’s coming,” they say, “all over again.”

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