One of the things the Germans teach their children is the difference between the Weihnachtsmann (Christmas Man) or St. Nicholas and Christmas. They are celebrated on two different days - St. Nicholas comes the 6th of December to fill good children's shoes with fruits, nuts, candies and small gifts, along with a piece of coal to remind them to be good. At Christmas, gifts are exchanged among family and friends, acknowledging the Christ Spirit in each of us. Germans are very fond of their holy days, as well as their holidays. There's nothing under the tree from "Santa."
So what does Spirit mean in this time of Advent? In the first Advent, there was the appearance of the star - people knew something was coming. The wise men watched and waited for the right time to start their journey. A spirit of anticipation was all around. And in our Advent now, as we await Christ's return? How can we hold that Christmas Spirit for more than a day? While the season of Advent reminds us to be watchful and ready, our Advent is much, much longer than the 25 days before the celebration of Christ's birthday. It's holding that spirit inside us, always - never knowing if the homeless man, the cop, the robber, the new mom, the frantic dad (from the story above) is really a test for us. Do you hold the spirit inside you? Are you ready?
Activity for the Day: Today, look for something to compliment each person you meet - it has to be something true, something real. Then *say something* - actually give the compliment, don't just think it. You have no idea how many people's days you may brighten with a simple, sincere compliment.