The holidays are upon us. I’d like to challenge all of us to consider now (at the beginning of the season) how we prepare for these days of wonderment. My heart is that you and I could enjoy the trappings without falling into the traps that so often come during this time of year. Allow me to suggest a few actions that will help us prepare.
There is a beautiful sacredness that accompanies this season. There are also plenty of secular traditions that have an appropriate place in our hearts and lives. Be ok with both. Don’t get trapped into meaningless arguments about the wording of our greetings, etc. If “keeping Christ in Christmas” is important to you, then do that. That has nothing to do with secular people inserting the name of Jesus into a greeting. It has everything to do with those of us who believe keeping the person and work of Jesus alive in the way we talk about and operate in this season.
Our western culture could not possibly be more different from the eastern culture of which Bethlehem was and is a part. We tend to think that the more, the better. Packed schedules. More gifts. What if we made active attempts to simplify this year? What if you just applied it to those two things? Try to clear your calendar instead of fill it. Give fewer gifts that have deeper meaning. However you choose to analyze simplification, you are almost certain to benefit from its consideration.
With this final thought I am not so much thinking of mainly corporate worship, though attending special Christmas services can be an excellent push in the right direction. I’m thinking more of personal, private, and daily reflection on the coming of Jesus. What it means. Stand in awe. Let the incarnation of Jesus blow you away again the way it did the first time you understood it. Be thankful. Be humble.
But none of these things are likely to happen by accident. Some of them are downright difficult. All of them have value and rich reward if we will just prepare for the holidays.