Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the Christmas season has official begun. I know that some people think that the Christmas season starts with Halloween… but come on, let’s be serious.
And my guess is that with the start of the Christmas season, different people have different reactions to the month that lies ahead…
For some there’s an overwhelming sense of excitement and expectation.
For some there’s a growing sense of anticipation and desire.
But for others, they may feel exhausted just by the thought of all that needs to be done.
Let’s be honest, pulling off Christmas each year takes a lot of work. Between the decorating, the extra errands to run, the parties to host and attend, the food to prepare, the gifts to distribute, etc… In order to pull it all off, Christmas takes a fair amount of planning and a great deal of execution. Every year with Christmas there comes an enormous amount of preparation.
And we’re all aware, that in the midst of the holiday chaos, Christmas can easily blow right by us with no real sense of meaning because of being under prepared. But I’m not talking about the preparation of decorating, gift buying or hosting a great party. Rather, not being personally prepared to experience what this season is all about.
And I’m sure many of us, if not all of us reading this blog, would say that Christmas isn’t about the stuff. It’s about the birth of Jesus. Right? But I also think that there is danger in simply giving lip service to Jesus being “the reason for the season.” The danger is that we hold Christmas as a memorial of what happened in the past when God came into our midst rather than living with the expectation of God coming into our midst today.
One author writes, “Advent (the Christmas season) marks something momentous: God’s coming into our midst. That coming is not just something that happened in the past. It is a recurring possibility here and now. And thus Advent is not merely a commemorative event or an anniversary, but a yearly opportunity for us to consider the future, second Advent – the promised coming of God’s kingdom on earth.”
Christmas is a time pregnant with anticipation and expectation. There is so much to look forward to, but it’s easy to get so excited about celebrating Christmas that we easily overlook preparing ourselves for Christmas. We can get so caught up in the hype and hoopla that we don’t take the necessary time to prepare ourselves to be watching for how God will come into our midst in the here and now.
Are you anticipating the kingdom this Christmas?
Are you expecting God to come into your midst today?
What are you doing to prepare yourself for the Christmas season?
*The above work by Rembrandt titled, “The Adoration of the Shepherds” was painted in 1646.