- Updated: 30 November 2020
… and as I stare in despair at another month come and gone, there is something different about staring into December. Christmas, for all my life, has been a strange mix of excitement, sentiment, and deep questions about what it all means. In all my years as a pastor the Advent Season has been celebrated in a variety of ways. Advent is the celebration of the coming of Christ. Christians remember the wonderful gift of the Son of God coming into the world to save sinners… and every breathing human being belongs in that category of people.
Dr. James E. White, who pastors a church in North Carolina, has written about an “Advent Conspiracy”, a catchy title for all of us who are weary of political conspiracy theorists. It is the idea that all who are Christ followers should consider how to get Christ back into the season of celebration we’ve stolen His name for… the Christmas season. Dr. White asked this question: What would it look like if we took this Christmas and worshipped fully, spent less, gave more and loved all? And did it in the name of Jesus, for Jesus, to Jesus, and in honor and celebration of the birthday of Jesus?
I am a firm believer that the Lord loves to answer that question for us. If we open ourselves to being available to spread His love to the people in our lives, and those He brings into our lives, then we may just find Christmas a more meaningful, less expensive, more giving and more loving than we’ve ever experienced before. I am going to be asking Him this question for myself and for our church… and I cannot wait to see what He does with it!
From my earliest Christmas memory, I am staring up at my grandma (she was never more than 5’ tall so I was pretty young) and there are tears rolling down her soft cheeks as we sang “Silent Night” at the midnight Christmas Eve service at Shawnee United Methodist Church in my hometown of Lima, Ohio. I have no idea what she was thinking as she sang the words of the most lovely Christmas Carol, but I do know that she had prayed for me, and had been convinced that I would be called into the ministry of serving Christ as a pastor long before I knew it. Maybe that is why Christmas is weird for me? But, it is a good weird… and I am looking forward to Jesus’ answering my prayer of how to honor Him this year.
For His glory,