Luke 2:5-7, “He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place in the guest room.”
We have just entered the season of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting, anticipating and preparing. We know what lies ahead. We have been on this journey several times. In this familiar territory, it is easy to get caught up in, or overwhelmed, by the busyness that Advent and preparing for Christmas brings. After all, there are cards to be sent, parties to go to, decorations to put up (in homes and churches), Christmas pageants to rehearse and perform and countless other things that clamor for our attention. There is much to celebrate, but in the middle of it all it is important to remember doing more doesn’t mean the season will be merrier. I hope that we will all give ourselves permission to say no, to let go of the things that don’t help us celebrate the birth of Christ or add light to the world.
Libby and I both love Christmas. We enjoy pulling out and putting up the decorations, they add light to our house and joy to our lives. I believe it helps to uplift our spirits during the adventures of Advent. Of course, this year our decorations are buried deep in a storage unit, in Jacksonville, and we won’t have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in “our home.” However, we will be together, and we will find ways to celebrate the light of Christ. We both love Christmas lights they bring us joy, and we usually take in a professional display or two and drive around to neighborhoods that have fully embraced the season.
I really love all the extra light this time of year. In fact, one of my favorite traditions that most churches follow is the lighting of the Advent wreath. It helps us mark and countdown the weeks until Christmas, and each week as another candle is lit, there is a little more light in church sanctuaries and a little more light in the world. We know that nothing shines brighter than the love God has for us in Jesus Christ, and we are reminded that we are called to be vessels of that light and love. How are we using our God-given gifts to add light to the world? May we all continue to look for ways to reflect the light and love of Christ and unwrap his presence for others, so that we can bask in the light and be nurtured by Christ’s love.