Have you noticed that every year the Christmas decorations in the mall are being put up earlier and earlier and the Hallmark channel is already running new Christmas shows on weekends? It feels like we jump from Halloween to Christmas, with barely a mention of Thanksgiving. Only the cooking shows are focusing on Thanksgiving and they are talking about the meal.
How do you prepare yourself for Christmas? What is your favorite tradition? Is there something that you must do or it doesn’t feel like Christmas to you? Maybe you bake cookies or go shopping the day after Thanksgiving or play Christmas music. Perhaps it doesn’t feel like Christmas until you have watched “Rudolph” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” or the tree is up, lit and decorated. Could it be that Christmas for you is when you have all the figures of the Nativity set placed perfectly in the stable?
For many of you it wouldn’t be Christmas if you weren’t worshiping by candlelight, singing, “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve or attending the children’s pageant or singing the “First Nowell”.
All of these traditions evoke memories, but they are not the reason we celebrate Christmas. It is a cliché, but Jesus is the reason for the season. If Jesus hadn’t been born and acclaimed as the Messiah, we would probably be celebrating the winter solstice.
As Christians, Christmas is the time we rejoice in the birth of our Savior, who showed us what it means to be fully human. We remember the difficult journey made by Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, and we thank God for this precious gift who incarnates love, peace, joy and hope for all.
Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas. This year make time in your preparations to remember the reason for the season. Focus on Jesus as being born anew in your life.
Add these events to your holiday traditions: the Advent Breakfast and Workshop on November 29, 9:30-10:30, lighting the Advent Wreath, attending the Christmas Pageant on December 20, going Christmas caroling the same day and watching the light fill the sanctuary on Christmas Eve.
After all the word holiday means holy day.
May all your days be holy days.
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
Wishing you Hope, Peace, Joy and Love,