Bethany Christian Church in Smith
This year we are losing a few parts of Christmas, and I think we should be sad about that.
However, I think that this Christmas we also have a chance to look at Christmas with fresh eyes, to see something that we may miss other years.
In church circles, we call the time before Christmas ‘advent.’
Advent is familiar outside of churches as well, named in ‘advent calendars.’ It marks the four Sundays before Christmas, and culminates on Christmas Eve.
Advent is in the time that we take to set up our decorations and prepare for Christmas Day.
I think the idea is that preparation is very important for making the day what it is. Presents won’t buy and wrap themselves, food won’t plan and eat itself, Christmas traditions do not happen by themselves, and in happier years, gatherings are planned.
We are familiar with advent as a time to get ready for Christmas. It is fitting then that the word advent simply means “coming”.
This is a brief, hopefully humorous, view of how advent goes most years:
Excitement that Christmas is coming, planning to decorate and have the best Christmas ever, frustration as you take out the decorations and can’t find some pieces, the lights are in a knot (again) and your kids knock over the tree.
The gifts you wanted for your kids are sold out or haven’t arrived yet. You are still full from supper yesterday but have another Christmas meal tonight, and there is a giant platter of snacks out.
The kids are too excited to sleep; they wake up too early, they take the presents out of the boxes and play with the boxes instead.
Off for Christmas at Grandma’s for more boxes and more eating.
Finally, its time to put the decorations away; who cares if they all get back in the box at this point.
The credit card bills have come.
You step on a scale.
Thank goodness this doesn’t happen again for 11 months.
Maybe a bit cynical, but does that sound familiar?
The season comes. It surely leaves us with a few good memories but ultimately, at the end, Christmas goes back into the box come January.
Advent is not really about Christmas coming, it is about Jesus coming.
John 1 tells us that into a world of darkness came the light, and that changes things.
The light did not come for a month to be put back into a box.
The light did not fix every problem immediately.
The light did not make everything easy.
The light reveals things as they are, and sometimes that is uncomfortable to see, but it also gives us a chance to live in the light, to put our lives in order.
As Dr. Seuss reminded us, Christmas is not about presents, meals and decorations; maybe Christmas is a little more.
Maybe this advent we should find something that we will not be putting back into a box come January.