Friday, December 3


It's advent.  The season of waiting, expecting, anticipating, inviting, hoping.  My favourite season.

In advent we acknowledge our need.  Our brokenness.  The reality that our hearts long for something out of this world.

In advent we look forward as we look back.  We remember that Christ came to meet our need, to make us whole. We reflect on his love that fulfills our deepest longings.  Even though it's already happened, we say "O Come, O Come Emmanuel!" and invite him again to enter our world, as he did so long ago.

I have struggled recently with the reality that so many of the things that make me so affectionate toward Christmas don't have an awful lot to do with celebrating the birth of Christ.  They are certainly celebratory - stringing lights, baking cookies, wrapping gifts, singing carols, hot drinks in cozy rooms filled with the people I love the most.  But I have come to love these things more than the reason that we are celebrating.  I have come to celebrate these things, rather than using these things to celebrate.

I want to be filled with joy that Jesus entered into my world, came to rescue me from my brokenness.  Not that I have a day off that I can eat delicious food with my family.

I am torn.  These celebratory things are good.  I want them to augment my celebration of Christ.  I want him to be the focus as we give, as we eat, as we sing.  This is the challenge.  Part of me wants to say "No gifts!  No commercialism!  Jesus!  Jesus!  It's about him!"  It's hard to say "I give because of Jesus' gift..."  Hard to keep that at the center as I search for the right gift, in the right price range.  Hard to remember that Jesus left heaven to come and be with me, when I think of all of the functions and families I need to juggle on my few precious holy days.

There are a couple of great sites I'd invite you to check out as you approach Christmas this year.

The first is Advent Conspiracy, a movement inviting us to "worship fully, spend less, give more, love all" this Christmas season.  Some neat and thought provoking things on there.

The other is Christmas Change, another site challenging us to consider giving in new and different ways than the traditional consumer Christmas.  I was moved by a quote on the Christmas Change promo video that said "Spend less on those who don't need, give more to those who need desperately."

I'm going to keep pondering these things.  I'll invite you to join me in that, and in the coming days I hope to share with you some of the decisions we have made about Christmas and some of the ways we will anticipate and celebrate that Christ comes to us.

I leave you with this video from Christmas Change:

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