Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Advent Blessings to you!
Right after Halloween, I was in Lowe’s and marveled at the sight of the Christmas displays up already. I thought, “We haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet and its ‘Move over Butterball, Santa’s already on his way!’” “Oh well,” I thought, “I guess I have room in my expanding waistline for a Christmas cookie or two with my Thanksgiving dinner.”
The blatant commercialization and consumerism of the Christmas season can be a turn off. Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of Christ Jesus and “Peace on earth - Good will towards men,” that we strive to remember and celebrate this time of the year. I have to admit that when the weather becomes colder at this time, I do begin to feel the spirit of Christmas stir within me, but the stress of the season threatens to choke-out the joy of the season as my schedule begins to fill up with all the many preparations that need to be done for Christmas. I mean, there are so many things to do, the pressure of Christmas can be daunting, threatening to bury us in all the things that need done:
· Decorations to dig out, light cords to untangle, and a tree to put up;
· Christmas lists, sale ads, and gifts to purchase;
· Crowds to navigate in the stores for gift shopping;
· Oh, the Traffic!
· Christmas parties, concerts and dinners;
· In-laws and outlaws!
· Commercial after commercial after commercial of Christmas stuff;
· More traffic!
The list goes on and on. I sometimes hear from people how Christmas has come and gone too quickly for them, and they missed it. They never got into the spirit of Christmas because of all the business. It left them feeling empty. That has happened to me before as well, until one year I realized that Advent is our time to prepare. The Church gives us the Season of Advent to prepare our hearts for the coming celebration of the birth of Christ.
Actually, we do need to prepare our homes for Christmas, but most importantly we need to prepare not only to celebrate the birth of Christ at Bethlehem, but also the birth of Christ within our hearts. For that to happen the Christmas carol, Joy to the World tells us, “Let every heart prepare him room.”
In this season of busyness, be sure to take time to prepare your heart as well as your home, and the real joy of Christmas will be yours. Amen!
Pastor Rob Taylor