I know that many of us have participated in the exercise of making New Year’s resolutions. But I’m betting that some of us have also made “Christmas resolu- tions.” We may not have used that terminology, but if you’re like me, at least once in your life, you said to yourself or to your family “This Christmas is going to be different” and then laid out some ways you were determined to make that happen. Maybe you have pledged to make Christmas less hectic, or less stress- ful. Maybe you have decided to try and be more focused on the real meaning of the season. But whatever you decided to make Christmas better than previous Christmases, I would call that a “Christmas Resolution,” wouldn’t you?
Now, like many resolutions, our Christmas resolutions have no doubt met with varying degrees of success. For example, you might well have found that trying really hard to be less stressed can be, well, stressful. But that doesn’t mean that the desire for a richer, fuller experience of Christmas that many of us feel should be ignored. Christmas can and should be a time of truly meaningful worship, fel- lowship, and service. But that doesn’t just happen, especially if we go with the flow of the cultural, commercial, and even religious currents that will sweep us along in a direction that we don’t really want to go.
One step in keeping our Christmas resolutions is to make a point of being in wor- ship during the Advent season. It is part of the function of worship to keep our lives centered and focused, and to strengthen our individual and collective re- solve to faithfully follow Christ in all things. Some of that is accomplished simply by joining together in the countercultural experience of corporate worship. But the proclamation of a Word in due season can also go a long way to helping us stay on track.
The theme for Advent 2016 at FUMC will be “A Different Kind of Christmas,” dur- ing which I am hoping you will find encouragement and strategies for keeping your “Christmas resolutions” this year and in years to come, as well as some fresh ideas for keeping Christmas.
See you in church!
In Evergreen Love, Pastor Tom