I hope you and those you love had a blessed Thanksgiving! We continue this time of gratitude today by beginning the season of Advent.

This holy season is about hope and desire. We wait eagerly as the one foretold comes into our midst. He comes to save us and our world from violence, sin and death.

He comes to fulfill the dream of the prophet Isaiah: a time and a place where "swords and spears are beaten into ploughshares and pruning hooks" and nations "will cease to learn the art of war."

Though we tend to romanticize the Christmas story, it's important to remember that Mary and Joseph bore a lot of hardships leading up to Jesus's birth. Time and again, they faced discomfort and rejection.

As Luke puts it so vividly, there was no room in the inn.

Our holidays too can be full of hardships, but God proves that love itself can be born amidst poverty, abandonment and obscurity.

To help prepare for Jesus's threefold coming at Christmas, CACG is introducing our second annual Advent daily reflection series. Join thousands of our members throughout the United States and the world on this digital retreat.

As enter in this time of joy, I offer the words of Glenn Rudolph as a prayer for our journey ahead: "Come little child whose bed is straw, take new lodgings in our hearts! Bring the dream Isaiah saw: life redeemed from fang and claw."

Thank you for all you do, and may God bless you this holiday season.