Dear Ones,
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, overflowing with gratitude! We had a delicious feast with  Ann’s family and time to catch up, play scrabble,  and enjoy the beauty of the lake and warmth of the fire. Today I cleaned and made Al’s favorite cookies and my favorite bars and then did more Christmas cards.  
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I suspect the lights have gone on very early in many households today for it is Black Friday. So many ads announcing fantastic buys for early-bird shoppers, and one can only imagine the mobs of people that will be encountered. I wonder if the person in the guestroom above our bedroom is one such person, as noises started after midnight! 
It is almost hard to comprehend the change that comes from spending Thanksgiving Day remembering to be grateful for our many blessings to transitioning to Black Friday, which seems more like a day of greed! I read today the story of a man who got up at 3 A.M. to avoid the holiday rush on Black Friday. As he drove along on the freeway, he was making good time but suddenly noticed a long line of traffic ahead. He thought there must be an accident but as he got closer, he discovered something hard for his eyes to believe. Cars were literally stopping on the freeway to let passengers out that would jump the guardrail and climb a small hill to get to a nearby outlet mall! We can only imagine the pushing and shoving to get to those super sales first.
I thought of how different it is when celebrating the first Sunday of Advent in the church year. It is all about quietly waiting and what a contrast!  Instead of rushing and getting to be first, we slow down and quiet ourselves to wait and contemplate the coming of Jesus. Advent is a time of preparation and helps our hearts get ready for Christmas. We take time for reflection and focus on what Jesus has done. As it says in Psalm 62:5 (NRSV), “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from Him.”
The church displays the color purple or dark blue, not only colors of royalty but of colors to signify repentance. It is good to let God search our hearts and remove all those things that separate us from Him. We wait quietly to not only contemplate His first coming but also of His coming again. Advent is a time to draw closer to the One whose birth we celebrate and to share His love with others. 
Let us not focus on being the first one in line, the first one to get a discounted item, but the first to humble ourselves and prepare our hearts for His coming.
Challenge for today: Spend some time in quiet reflection and ask the Lord to prepare your heart for Christmas.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy