Updated: Oct 14, 2020
The buzz leading up to Christmas is a real thing for most Christians. The planning of meals, baking schedules, gift hampers, outreach programs, shopping for the family and friends, Christmas concerts to attend - the list goes on.
It's funny though, how little time we spend thinking on the very premise that makes this season what it is. We have heard the cliches 'Jesus is the reason for Christmas' et al but how much does it affect us?
As a church we have been focusing on looking at Advent through the lens of the Gospel and here’s what we discovered.
Christmas is all day everyday
Yes, it is celebrated in the month of December but the concepts of love, generosity and joyful celebration should be the foundation on which we live our lives. We must make it a habit to be kind and generous with those who help us and also have a consistent joy and love that impacts those around us, all year round.
Christmas on the calendar is a God given opportunity
While we have the whole year to share our faith and what Jesus means to us through everyday conversations, this month of advent presents us unique opportunities to enter otherwise closed off spaces with the mission of re-telling the Christmas story. The Christmas story may have become very familiar to us and so there's a danger in over simplifying it or glossing over it. We discovered this year, that there is no innkeeper mentioned in the first Christmas story, looks like he was a last minute addition into all our theatrical adaptations just to give that one other guy a role since Joseph's was already taken. On the other hand, if you take a closer look at it you will find that every year we find something fresh and new in that simple and rather straight forward story. Let's take the advent seriously, in sharing those fresh insights with the people around us who could do with some good news!
Christmas must cause us to carefully meditate on a year gone by and prayerfully dream for the year to come
As we munch on that homemade cake or those delectable Indian treats why not spend time journaling or even just reminiscing (if writing is not your first love) on the past year. The year gone by at first glance may seem plain horrible, average or brilliant. As you sit and think back on those situations that tested you or filled you with delight you will begin to also see layers of attitudes that changed in you, old patterns of behaviour that have evolved and you can then see the hand of God in everything. That hand, is the common thread in everything that happened last year and all that will follow in the new year. This season of Advent is like looking from a vantage point at the old and new with gratitude and humility knowing Jesus holds everything together.
Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.
(C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle)