I have to confess that Advent/Christmas is my favorite time of the year. ?I love Christmas — the music (the old, traditional carols and worship hymns, not the secular and new stuff), the message, the meaning and the magnitude of it.
Getting Into the Christmas Spirit
Because I am from a Jewish family and still celebrate the Jewish holidays with them, I escape all the pressure of Christmas shopping, hosting, decorating, parties and such.?Growing up, our Christmas tradition was a movie and Chinese food.?For me, it is a time of reflection, devotion and celebration of Christ. ?So I experience none of the stress, pressure and debt many people associate with the holiday. ?For me, I just get to enjoy it.
In the past, when I was a pastor, the Christmas season was really a journey — and I loved it. ?I would usually settle on an Advent theme for preaching sometime in July or August. ?We would start planning our Christmas services concept in September or October. ?Writing, message prep, and all the logistics that go along with promoting the Advent series, planning a major Christmas service event like "Imagine Christmas", etc… those were top of my to-do list throughout November and December. ?Christmas was always on my mind and it meant that when it finally arrived, I had been thinking about, praying about and planning for Christmas for months.
(After Christmas, we went through the same process preparing for Lent and Easter… planning Ash Wednesday, special prayer nights, Lenten devotionals and preaching series, Holy Week — Good Friday services, Easter Services, post-Easter series and follow-up, etc. So my year was very much balanced around the church calendar… and balanced around the incarnation and passion of Christ.)
Now, that is not true. And I am feeling less engaged and prepared for Christmas.
Working in the restaurant business, we are incredibly busy right now. And that is good. ?But in the kitchen, it doesn't feel "Christmasy". And while my devotions and scripture reading have been focused on Advent, and now Christmas, it feels like it has just sprung on me… no months of meditation and study and planning and preparing for the Christ child. ?He is just here! Now!
And maybe that is okay.
The Wise Men spent a lifetime seeking after God.
But the Shepherds just stumbled upon Him.
Mary was able to prepare and pray and reflect for months.
But the Innkeeper had little time to plan or prepare at all.
But either way, Christ the Savior is born!
And that is really the only thing that actually matters about Christmas.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!