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My Advent calendar is an old wooden pop-bottle carton.  I acquired it years ago from an antique dealer, and we have used it since the kids’ growing up years.  As you see, it sits on one end, has a velvet red ribbon and bow and 24 little cubbies.  Perfect for counting down the days from December 1 through Christmas Eve.  (I know that always truncates Advent by a few days, but it’s still “Thoughty, eh?” as Dad used to say.)  Each slot holds a couple verses of the Lucan birth story.

When the kids were little, their mom and I added a piece of candy and sometimes a little trinket toy for each; day-by-day they heard part of the Advent story and got a treat.  In my bachelor days, I decided to gather favorite pictures–of people, places, events–and place those in appropriate slots.  I look forward to this walk down memory lane all year long.

Today’s “beginning” is typical: Luke 1:26-28 on a card, plus pictures of firstborn son Jason, firstborn grandson Carter, brother David (who was born on the first of November.  Sometimes pictures fit on days that don’t have a numerical connection, such as today’s additional picture of my longtime favorite artificial Christmas tree.

As Bruce and I began devotions this morning, centering on the Lucan text, I was struck by the annunciation angel’s first words: “Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you!”    For the first time ever, I heard the word “you” as plural, not singular to Mary.  When I shared it with Bruce, we both were moved by the thought: at least in English, that first-person “you” could well be plural, and be addressed to all the world.  Including the two of us (and to you, gentle reader).  “Greetings,” says God’s messenger directly to each of us again today; “you, [insert our names here], who are highly favored.  The Lord is with you!”

What a concept.  What an awesome God.  Maranatha.  Come Lord Jesus.

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