When we join a group, be it Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Rotary, or Kiwanis, we expect to give it time and energy to fulfill the mission of the group. If we don't participate, we receive no benefits from our membership. We don't join a family, God puts us into one, but the same thoughts apply. Being in a family that lives separately under one roof is a huge loss. God could predict this, so we have the passage in Deuteronomy 6, which is worth re-reading from time to time. Prepare Our Hearts will give you new thoughts about your Christmas celebrations. It may help you appreciate that many people before us have longed to be ready for the birth of the Christ child and have taken time to alter their patterns and make room for activities that inspire. Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, can be a wonder-filled time for families to begin the practice of gathering as a family for a common purpose. During Advent, we prepare our hearts, thoughts, and homes for the coming of the Christ child. It is a perfect time for sharing, reading Scripture, and special stores about Christmas, singing, praying, and lighting the candles in the Advent wreath. The family is encouraged to plan for others and enjoy activities together. Families need encouragement in our day when many forces intrude. Think seriously how your family lives in December. Use the suggestions to make your own traditions. Most importantly, don't allow the precious years with your children to vanish into nothingness. Prepare Our Hearts will contribute to memory-making that will be remembered long after the gifts exchanged no longer fit or hold interest.