Christmas is almost here. The waiting is almost over. Soon the celebrations can begin. Sometimes I think our attitude towards Christmas is so very reflective of our cultures’ attitude towards life. We tend to want everything now and right away. All the good experiences at once and lets just place those uncomfortable moments off to the side. In contrast to this every year –we as a church celebrate Advent. That time before Christmas, the season when we are supposed to wait. But waiting seems so hard, especially when our world teaches us to demand everything now, in an instant, at our convenience. One person even asked me recently, “Why should I wait for Christmas!”
That’s a fair enough question. The answer might rest in what happens when we don’t celebrate Advent. You see skipping Advent makes the birth of Jesus the end of the story, rather than the beginning of the ongoing story of the restoration of creation. Rushing into Christmas also tends to strip us of the important practice of self-examination – something we tend to not allow ourselves time to do. When we stop to examine who we are and how we are living then we wind up making space in our lives for the miracle (and meaning) of the holiday to live in and change us. Probably most important is that by celebrating Advent we slow down and encounter Christmas for what it really is – God’s answer to our broken lives. Otherwise Christmas flashes by us so quickly that we find ourselves celebrating the New Year barely remembering what happened at Christmas.
Why bring this up now when advent is almost past and Christmas is near? The simple reason is that Christmas does not need to be confined to a single day. I am not talking about the songs, the decorating, or the eating. I am referring to the celebration of our Savior’s birth (the part of the holiday that is not about us) which can be celebrated at any time. The joy at knowing how precious life is and how much God values us –even wants to live among us – does not need to end on December 26th. The glimmer of peace that we may encounter this time of year is a gift of peace that God desires to bring into our lives every day of the year. The hope of reconciliation can blossom at any moment – not just when we are treating each other politely during the holidays. Christmas is both an event we wait for and an event we never stop experiencing! Advent is what helps us to realize this. Our attitude during Christmas is what helps us to embrace it. May the Joy, Peace, and Hope of Christmas find its resting place in your lives this season.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE STAFF AT ALPINE!
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