Advent Celebrations

By Charity Matson (North Carolina)

It was such a beautiful day, one of my favorites.

It had snowed the night before so everyone was dressed in their coziest sweaters with a cup of coffee or tea and a fire was crackling in the lodge’s wood stove. Tripp Almon spoke that morning about the origins and traditions of Advent and you could feel the excitement build as he told us what our Christmas activities for the day were going to be. We put Christmas music playing in the background as some of us sat down to decorate little wooden ornaments for our Christmas tree, and others started pulling out the Christmas lights and decorations to spread throughout the lodge. We took a break for lunch before getting ready to scour the forest for the perfect Christmas tree.

We stuffed ourselves, bundled ourselves, then piled ourselves into the back of the work trucks and drove off singing our favorite carols at the top of our lungs.

We stopped and everybody jumped out, slipping and sliding in the snow, pushing through the brush, yelling opinions on trees we found and trying to decide on the right one. Terry, our beloved property manager, quickly chose a beautiful blue spruce and the guys started cutting it down. They loaded the tree in one of the trucks and we headed back to the lodge. Driving down the bumpy dirt road, hoping nobody would fall out, the cold air stinging my cheeks, we began again singing carols.

It was a moment I hope never to forget.

For the rest of the afternoon, there was the hustle and bustle of Christmas activities: drinking hot chocolate, cutting up snowflakes, decorating the tree, and having whip cream launching competitions. It was such a blessing to be able to celebrate my favorite holiday with all my incredible friends. And though we were all stressed with finals coming up it was a wonderful way to pause and share with each other the joyous gift of our heavenly father coming to earth.