I must confess, I LOVE CHRISTMAS and always have. “I got it honest” as they say, because my Dad loves Christmas, yet we no longer celebrate like before. Like most children watching and caring for parents suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia, I find that I am more passionate about things which connect me to my Dad. As these diseases have all but taken him away over the past 15 years, my love of Christmas has only intensified. It’s as though loving such things allows me to feel connected and close to him.
I believe this feeling of closeness is the reason the hustle and bustle between Thanksgiving and Christmas doesn’t bother me. You see I cherish the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas because it allows me time to think and plan ways I can give of myself as an expression of my love for family and friends. In looking back, I see how eagerly I anticipated Christmas’ arrival. I see how my expectations grew with the passing of each day until The Day arrived. Truth be told, even as I write this message I feel the excitement growing inside of me.
Such reflection has allowed me to see that during this time I have had a spirit of anticipation and expectation and that I need time to prepare for an arrival. One might say that my approach to Christmas mirrors the very spirit of and meaning of Advent, with one monumental difference: Advent is about the coming/arrival of God as revealed in the birth of Jesus the Christ.
This birth gives cause for celebration because the revelation of God with Us was eagerly anticipated by the oppressed and outcast. They longed for deliverance from the evils of their world and they faithfully believed in the God who heard their cries and brought about their deliverance. They lived in a state of expectation and anticipation and they knew they must take time to prepare. Their hope was not placed in commercial conquest or accumulation of tangible disposable goods. Their hope was in God, who through Jesus the Christ, showed that a King should rule with truth and justice, righteousness and grace because this type of rule will bring peace and justice and righteousness to the world.
The season of Advent calls us, followers of Jesus the Christ, to prepare with anticipation, expectation and longing for just such a world.
Grace & Peace,