We began our adult Sunday school class Unplug the Christmas Machine last week asking these two questions: Christmas is (how many) days away? What are the first three words that come to mind when you hear the answer to the first question?
When we answered these questions together most of our answers had to do with the hectic pace and anxiety the weeks before Christmas - also known as Advent - bring to us. Given the grasp that commercialism and social pressures have on all of us, I often think about how we fail to be countercultural, as Jesus was, in our Christianity. We forget that Christianity was not the dominant way of life but an alternative way to live and believe. In answer to the second question, one of my words was "slow down" (yes, I know that's two words). And that is my Advent and Christmas message to you today - Slow Down. Wait. Anticipate.
Slow Down. Don't let the busyness of this season control you. Slow Down. Give yourself permission to not get wrapped up in all of the hustle and bustle. Slow Down. Wait. Be in the moment and enjoy what is going on around you, the changing of the seasons, your family and friends. Slow Down. Wait. Anticipate.Prepare yourself not just by decorating and buying gifts, but as if you were really awaiting the coming of the Christ child-God breaking into the world to be physically present with us as one of us. Perhaps that will allow you to remember that Christ is already alive and well in this world.
Slow Down. Remember that there are four weeks of Advent and twelve days of Christmas. Wait. Listen to what God is saying to you and be who God created you to be. Anticipate. Give thanks and praise for all of it. Slow Down. Wait. Anticipate.This is the time to reconcile with God and remember what purpose God had in sending Jesus to this earth.
Slow Down. Wait. Anticipate. Behold the Light as it dawns - the New Creation of the Almighty. Slow Down.
May you have a joyous, peace filled, and happy Advent and Christmastide!
God's Peace Be With You All,