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How do you build an altar for a set apart season?
First, the wreath itself.
Nothing fancy, just an evergreen wreath with some plastic berries and silver ribbon. Our candles aren't the traditional Advent colors. The composition itself isn't what matters. It's the soothing ritual, the hushed voices as we gather around the light, waiting for the Light.
In a season that the enemy tries to overcome with busyness and chaos, we take time to be intentional. To quiet our souls. To remind ourselves what we're about to celebrate.
We must both read and meditate upon the nativity. If the meditation does not reach the heart, we shall sense no sweetness, nor shall we know what solace for humankind lies in this contemplation. The heart will not laugh nor be merry. As spray does not touch the deep, so mere meditation will not quiet the heart. There is such richness and goodness in this nativity that if we should see and deeply understand, we should be dissolved in perpetual joy. - Martin Luther, excerpted from Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas (emphasis mine)