And then it hit me... Christmas is Stealing My Advent
This year, since our family was gathering for two December graduations, we had our Christmas celebrations early. All of the cooking and wrapping and games and gift-giving were over by mid-December. And the strangest thing came upon me one day. I realized I was looking forward to having the festivities finished early, so I could just focus on the meaning of Christmas. I yearned for the pressure of the big event to be over, so I could just sit quietly and ponder Immanuel.
Now don’t misunderstand…I absolutely love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday and it marks the passing of the years for our family.
We have many traditions and eagerly anticipate enjoying them. As we have a large family, I spend the entire year collecting gifts so I can manage the volume of giving. It’s a lot. But this year since it was all happening early, I realized that the stress of delivering all that, and the pressure to make everyone full and delighted, was taking me far from the little barn in Bethlehem.
So I’ve been slowing down these last few days and trying to soak in the real meaning of December 25th.
I meditated on the nativity Scriptures and watched videos about Bethlehem and pondered the real birth of Christ.
As mothers, so much pressure comes to bear on us to make this season the pinnacle of hospitality. There is always one more cookie to bake or one more craft to make or one more ribbon to enhance our décor.
Funny, I don’t see any of those things in Luke 2. I see an exhausted and terrified young couple in a filthy place, desperate and afraid but still clinging to faith. God had spoken, and they believed.
And as I reflect, I keep coming back to the word Immanuel. God with us.
For thousands of years, the people of Israel waited and believed, and then finally it happened…God with them. As we rush around and send the Amazon drivers scurrying, have we forgotten God with us? Do we even leave room for Him?
My prayer for you this week is that you can forgo whatever last minute thing you hoped to cram into your schedule. Just let it go.
In the years ahead, no one will remember and it won’t matter.
Somehow, find a way to just sit in the reality of Advent. Sit in stillness. Await. He is coming. God is coming to be with us. He will be with you in the days ahead, in the year ahead, when all the wrapping has been tossed and the tree hauled away. Sit with Him in the quiet of that Bethlehem night when only the stars were speaking.
Remember that He is with you, and He is the only gift that matters.