Advent ‘tis’ the season of hope, joy, peace and love. Unfortunately, we have turned the four weeks prior to Christmas Day into the season of shopping, baking, decorating, planning, parties, running here and there and we end up worn out from all the busyness.
‘Tis the season when we wonder “What is it all about? Why are we rushing around so much?” What would our preparations for Christmas look like if we didn’t focus on all the busyness? What would Advent look like if we focused on Jesus and the kind of people He is calling us to be?
What can we do this year to experience that hope, joy, peace and love of the season? “Do we spend our holiday season worrying about presents for people, purchasing stuﬀ they might not need at all, because we think that’s what we are supposed to do? Or do we follow God’s way, a new way to live?”
Our United States culture rates the success of the Christmas season by how much money we spend. If retailers have good sales, then, well, it’s been a good season. I’m uncomfortable with that. What about you?
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, ask yourself, “What are we celebrating at Christmas? Is it about the stuff, or the people? Is it about pleasing our children and other loved ones? Or is it about being with them? How do our daily decisions express our values as Christians, a people who celebrate the arrival of Jesus the Christ here on earth?”
This Christmas season, as we prepare to celebrate God’s presence, here with us on earth, I invite you to spend only ½ as much on buying gifts and decorations, and then give an equal amount to a cause that honors Jesus’ birth.
Here are some ways to experiment with that approach:
- buy one gift for loved ones, and then ask them what project or causes they value and donate in their name.
- check out the Alternative Gifting program the Missions Team is offering, donate to one of the suggested organization (or one of your choice) in place of a “store-bought” gift.
- give the gift of time working side-by-side with the gift recipient at a food shelf, Feed My Starving Children or some other organization that serves the needs of others I’m going to give it a try. How about you?