Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Although the secular Christmas season started before Halloween, in the church calendar the season began on November 30, the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a season of four weeks including four Sundays. Advent derives from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” During this time, we are called to prepare for the celebration of our Savior's birth. We are also called to think about how we are preparing for the time when Christ will come again. While the secular world prepares for our Savior's birth by shopping, wrapping gifts, baking, decorating, attending parties, followers of Jesus Christ are called to more or maybe I should say less –less meaning less time and energy and money spent on things that in the light of eternity do not really matter. More meaning more time spent in preparing our hearts to receive Christ anew. I know we are often times torn between both worlds. Before Jesus was crucified, he prayed for his disciples. He prayed that as they lived in the world, they would not become part of the world. That is our challenge today and every day, but maybe especially at Christmas time. How can we live in this world yet not become a part of it? I think it has a lot to do about keeping our priorities straight. And what are our priorities? According to Jesus they should be – Loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and loving your neighbor as you love yourself.
As I prepare for the birth of Christ, I would be less than honest if I didn't tell you my preparations will include shopping, wrapping gifts, decorating, maybe some baking, but I don't want to make those activities the focus of the season. While the saying is old and maybe even over used, the saying Jesus is the Reason for the Season still holds true. I read a short story years ago titled, Whose Birthday Is It Anyway? It was a reminder to me that this season is all about the gift of Jesus to a world desperately in need of love and forgiveness. Whatever our preparations are for this season, may we, above all, honor our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Wishing you a Blessed Christ-Filled Christmas Season!
And All God's Children Said,