I was raised in an ecumenical church community affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. When I later joined a Mennonite church, where many members were not raised with the church calendar, I became a bit of an Advent purist. Maybe a lot of one.
The best gift I ever received was something I never wanted. A few days before I finished my 12th and final year as pastor of a church I loved deeply, the congregation’s lay leader shuffled into my office.