Ok, for those of you who are not Christian year aficionados, Advent is the beginning of the new year. So, welcome one and all to Year...dum dum da duuummm...B. We need to work on the nomenclature. I love the church year. Just like the seasons keep me rooted to the land, the church year keeps me mindful of the Kingdom of God.
Here at the beginning, I have all kinds of hopes. What this year will bring, how I will be more dedicated to my disciplines, how I will seek the revelation of God in my life and respond with joy. Maybe I will write down some goals, but so far this Advent (all three days of it) my major struggle is to keep Advent about preparing for the birth of Christ in my mind and my children's minds.
This year we are trying a few new things to try to reclaim Christmas.
- Instead of doing presents on Christmas morning, we are going to exchange gifts on Epiphany (January 6th). This will separate Christ's biggest competition from Christmas day. It will also give us a chance to do our shopping/crafting/baking after Christmas. This will give us a chance to celebrate the season of Christmas.
- During Advent we will look for those in need around us and make plans to share the joy of Christ's coming with them in a new way. I am looking into a dinner. Not sure...still working on that one.
- Also, I hope to have some major crafting days to make some pictures/paintings for shut ins from our church and go visit them.
Hopefully, if I am not working on a flurry of presents, I will have more time to notice those around me who are lonely and broken.
It is terrifying how quickly children learn to associate Christmas with presents. How easily we cheapen the gift of Christ by diluting it in a maelstrom of giving and getting. God gave us his only child, and the celebration of that gift has to share billing with foot spas, perfume, ticklish puppets and iToys. I confess that I love presents. I love getting them and picking them out. I really love nailing the perfect gift for someone, and it secretly really thrills me for someone to pick out something that means they know me too. And that's what Epiphany is for...let's all dress up like wise men and drown each other in gifts...but Christmas is the celebration of Christ.