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  • Writer's pictureEmily Echols



1. the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event

2. the first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays

We moved over Christmas this year. For almost an entire month we traveled, staying with family in three different states before making a cross-country move. I tried so hard to hang onto a handful of Christmas traditions. We didn't get to decorate our house for Christmas but I did remember to pull out the Christmas stockings before the packers got them. I was really adamant and protective of this Advent wreath. I wanted to light the candles at dinner and read our Bible verse for the day. Even though Big Brother was going to receive presents from family in three different states I wanted him to remember that Christmas was actually about Jesus and not presents.

We were about seventy-percent ready when the packers arrived and we madly started throwing stuff into our "do not pack" closet. In the craziness, I dropped the Advent wreath. The candles broke and wouldn't stick in the stands anymore. But I wouldn't let that deter me! We were going to have an Advent wreath! It wasn't until we were in the hotel after clearing housing, the day before we left on our family tour of the Southeast, that I finally relented and left the broken Advent wreath.

Why was I so attached to this wreath? I'd gotten it from the traditional Protestant service on post. I'd decorated it the week of Thanksgiving, eager to have something in the house that felt Christmasy.

In many ways I think the Advent wreath represented all my excitement/anxiety about the move. It was the beginning of a new Christian year. It was also the beginning of a new adventure for our family and I think I wanted a way to acknowledge that. I wanted a ritual. It's hard for me to know how to say goodbye without signing yearbooks. I think I thought that lighting the candles would help remind me that Christmas is really about Jesus but maybe I also thought that it would help remind that the move is about Jesus, too. I don't have to be nervous or anxious because God is already here. God called us to the Pacific Northwest. Yes, it rains a lot. Yes, we're really far from friends and family. No, we haven't really made friends yet. No, we haven't quite found our new routine.


On rare, sunny days you can see Mt. Rainier, white, imposing, directly in front of you. It takes up half the horizon. It takes your breath away. Because it's beautiful, yes, but also because it was there all along and it makes you wonder what else you can't see.


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