As a child I looked forward to the appearance of my family’s Advent calendar on Dec. 1.

Each day my sister and I would take turns taking the plush Velcro items out of their pockets and affixing them to the appropriate spots in the countdown to Christmas. Teddy bears, presents and candles etc. all took turns.

The closer we got to Christmas, the more filled the family keepsake became — a tangible reminder that Jesus’ birthday was getting closer.

I still have the Advent calendar; it is still a key part of my preparations. It is a part of many Christians’ preparations (I even saw make-your-own Advent calendar ideas in a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living) for a reason.

The Register is already working on the Christmas issue of the paper (Dec. 18, the last one for 2011), but why we celebrate Advent is worth considering.

Counting down to Christmas is an important part of Advent because our hearts need time to be ready for Love’s arrival.

We need Advent at this busy time of year to remind us that the busyness isn’t what matters: The tiny Child sent to save us is the best present of all.

Happy Advent!

O Come, O come Emmanuel!