How are your Christmas preparations going? I’m actually doing pretty well, even though my tree isn’t up yet.
Last year we went to Florida. While there we did lots of touristy things that, while not extravagant, did add up; parasailing, fishing trip, etc. But these experiences were so much more memorable than 99% of the Christmas gifts we have given or gotten. This year we will go again and get to spend time with our niece, her husband and children.
This year we have also freed our family from buying each other presents. We had a quick chat about, “What do you want for Christmas?” and it resulted in us all realizing there weren’t really very many things we wanted.
I, for one, am thrilled with the “giftless” holiday. I did go Black Friday shopping for gifts for families that were identified by our local food pantry, (and had to be returned the week after Thanksgiving!)but other than that, I have no pressure. It allows me to prepare in other ways for the holiday.
On the First Sunday of Advent, I was taken aback by one of the selected scriptures: Malachi Chapter 3. It begins by announcing that the Lord is sending a messenger to prepare the way for the Lord who will come suddenly to His temple. What was surprising was the next verse
But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He is like a refiner’s fire
And like a launderer’s soap.
Whoa! Where is the happy baby Jesus I have gotten so used to focusing on? In fact I had forgotten that Advent needs to be a time of repentance and preparation of our hearts for the coming Saviour, not just a countdown to December 25th.
So as I make my few physical preparations, I’m praying to remain unencumbered by all the distractions of Christmas and remember the things I really need to get done: prayer, forgiveness, repentance and being the hands and feet of Jesus as much as possible. I pray for the same for you and your families, and for the joy and peace of wonderful new memories.