This year Thanksgiving fell on the latest date it can: November 28. It causes some concern, especially to retailers, when this happens. So, this year more than ever the Black Friday specials started early. (In fact, some started November 1 which has nothing to do with Thanksgiving’s date in my humble opinion!)
It seems we are constantly pressured to hurry up, do more, do it faster, and get ourselves into more debt in order to “celebrate” right. In the church, we offer a counter message: Slow down, pay attention, prepare your hearts for Christ to enter.
We have a season called Advent, which means the coming. We focus on three comings: as a child born in Bethlehem, as a risen Savior at work in our lives today, and his return to earth at the end of the age when heaven and earth become one. We actually start the season focusing on that return and gradually turn to the festival of Christmas over the four Sundays of the season.
We light candles on the Advent wreath. These candles represent peace, hope, joy, and love. These are the gifts Christ brought to our lives and by focusing on them, and away from the hurry up message of the world around us, we find those very gifts already at work in our lives. We are paying attention.
We offer you Bible readings through the worship services, Advent study, and our calendar for the Advent Blessing bags to help us all reflect on what it means to receive Jesus in our hearts. We are encouraged to serve others with the same love and grace Christ offered us.
And I offer this for your reflection. It came from a newsletter I received, and it really caught my attention.
God gave Him.
Mary wrapped Him.
Will you receive Him?
May this December be filled with peace, hope, joy, and love. May you slow down and make room for Jesus in your heart by letting go of things that pull you away from the Savior whose birth we celebrate each Christmas.