While I was eating my lunch today, I stumbled across this post on Coffee, Tea, Books and Me (a favorite blog) that I know I've read at least once before and felt a nudge.
Side note – eating lunch at the computer is one of my most horrible habits…as evidenced by the bit of risotto stuck on my space bar at the moment.
Christmas this year has left me feeling a bit ponderish. How best to celebrate in times of uncertainty…in the face of an income that is about to be slashed significantly…when we're feeling a bit spiritually abused…when in so many ways, it's been a year of diminishing.
Somehow, I've come to conclusion through all of this that diminishing isn't necessarily bad. It distills who we are and can strengthen not only our faith, but our primary relationships.
While we are in seasons of diminishing, we can discover what is of the truest importance and value.
And focus on that which is most crucial.
My heart for Christmas this year is that it would be similar – focused on He who is of the truest value and most crucial in our lives.
This year, we'll celebrate Advent again. If I could encourage you to add one thing to your Christmas celebration, it would be to observe the Advent season as a family and as the church body. The richness this simple observance has added to our holidays has been immeasurable. It gives us a moment each week as a family to come together and to truly focus on Christ during this harried season, and it gives us an opportunity to connect to the ancient roots of our faith. As followers of Jesus, we celebrate a tradition that reaches back in time over two thousand years and the fact that we - here, today, in 2010 - can continue that chain of belief and celebration is incredible and shouldn't be cast away lightly.
I think perhaps the saddest fact about the holidays is that as we lead up to the celebration of Christ's birth, our lives become a whirlwind of busyness and chaos. Celebrating Advent gives us an opportunity to come together and prepare our hearts for His birth.
This year, we're downsizing the spending. We'll be buying for our children only. I'm going to give Christmas cards the year off, perhaps sending them later in the year when our lives are more settled. Grandma Fee will be joining us for several weeks, and we'll host friends for dinner on Christmas Day. We'll bake lebkucken (once I figure out how to do it gluten-free) and make fudge, and seek ways to continually celebrate the season in ways that glorify God and transforms culture.
We need it because so much in our culture tells us that our lives should be built around
our jobs, our purchasing power, our frantic schedules.
We need to remind each other that we belong to God.
We need to tell and hear the story of a God who chose to become poor and vulnerable.
Lynne W. Gilliam
I came across that quote last year, and I believe it to be even more true now. We need to tell God's story in the way we choose to celebrate Christ's birth, more now than ever. We need to be that picture that shows the hope and grace of God in a season when so many of us are more poor and more vulnerable than we've ever been. We need to be vocal, to share the how's and why's in this season of diminishing of why we are choosing to celebrate Christ's birth differently – not to vilify culture, but to transform it.
I don't believe that we have to accept the holidays as a time of rudeness, of harried parents and whining children, of stress and financial devastation. I'm choosing to make this year even more different than I have in the past – in part because of circumstances and in part because of a desire to celebrate the birth of my Savior in a way that magnifies Him and His significance in my life.
Have you thought about how you'll celebrate this Christmas season?