Between gallbladder surgery and Thanksgiving, I took a little break from the blog. However, I am back! Hopefully the wait hasn't been too unbearable...
It isn't the Christmas season yet. I know, it is December. Christmas is just three weeks away! But it isn't the Christmas season yet. I know. Christmas decorations were going up in stores right after Halloween. A week before Thanksgiving Starbucks had stopped selling their Thanksgiving blend and had already started brewing their Christmas brew. Even with their now infamous red cup, it isn't the Christmas season yet. Rudolph, Frosty, and the Elf on the Shelf were already on TV. Even still it isn't the Christmas season yet.
It is the season of. We are now just 6 days into Advent, the beginning of the new year of the Church Calendar. There are 3 more weeks of Advent, a time of prayer and preparation. Then, according to our ancient Church Calendar, we have 12 full days of Christmas! Following the Church Calendar and celebrating Advent is kinda counter cultural these days, so why should we do it?
We live in a culture that wants everything instantly. We don't want to contemplate how it happens, or why; we just want what we want when we want it. I'm guilty of this. I am impatient. Pandora has been streaming Christmas music on my computer since the day after Thanksgiving. I want the feeling of Christmas morning, in my coffee mug, on my couch, right this moment. I don't want to reflect and pray. I just want to play with my children's new toys and eat Christmas cookies till I'm sick.
But I have to wait. And waiting is a good thing. Waiting brings suspense and anticipation. Remember the old saying, "absence makes the heart grow fonder"? This isn't just true of people. Moving to the Outer Banks this summer, I wasn't prepared for many of my new favorite restaurants would close for the winter. But now Kill Devil Custard is shuddered, and I can't get a BBQ sandwich and beach fries for 5 more months. But do you know just how wonderful it will be when I bite into one in the Spring? I'll let the BBQ drip down my chin as I savor every. single. bite. Waiting for Christmas brings the same kind of anticipation, only better!
When we saturate ourselves with the things that we long for, and consume those things without contemplation or appreciation, we run the risk of overkill and we diminish the value. Christmas is no different. I'm not saying to cut off the Christmas Carols, or to put your Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve. Go for it. What I am saying is this: Allow this Advent Season to be one of contemplation, prayer, waiting, and repentance. Don't just consume the Christmas gluttony around us. Stop, read Scripture. Contemplate the gift of God incarnate in Jesus Christ. Pray that the obedience of Mary and Joseph would be reflected in your life. Seek the shining star that would guide you to Christ. Don't try to make every moment recapture the feeling of Christmas morning. Relax, let the anticipation build. Then, on the 25th, bite down and savor Christmas. It will be gone before you know it!