If I may be cynical for a bit, Christmas in America is an orgy of consumerism. We begin on Black Friday (the holiest day on the consumerist calendar) and continue shopping till we drop, culminating in a pile of crumpled up wrapping paper on the morning of December 25. After that, we have to quick get those decorations down and put away before the new year rolls around. By contrast, Christmas in the church actually begins on December 25 and leads on for twelve days commemorating the birth of Christ, followed by Epiphany in which Christ is revealed to the world. The days leading up to Christmas are actually a time of prayer, fasting, and self denial (the opposite of consumerism) as we repent and prepare for the coming of Christ (both remembering that first Christmas day but also looking ahead to his return). I know we stand with a foot in each of these worlds, especially as a dad I'm trying to figure out gifts for my kids, but please, try to pause for a moment and remember joy. Yesterday, the third Sunday of Advent, the Joy candle (the pink one - I know, for years I assumed the one that was a different color must be the one right before Christmas) was lit in advent wreaths around the world, and in this LEGO wreath by CJ. Joy to the world, our Lord is coming.