And now, GOD, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
Psalm 126.4-6 (The Message)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ;
Something strange happens this time of year. For the first 11 months of the year our lives progress at a somewhat normal pace (whatever “normal” happens to mean for you). But then, as soon as the Thanksgiving dinner is over and the leftovers are stuffed in the refrigerator, someone fires the starter pistol and the race is on. What follows is a full month of shop- ping, parties, decorating, shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, cards (and oh, did I mention shopping). December seems to be a whole month dedicated to prepare for one day.
Please don’t get me wrong. There is nothing inappropriate with parties or decorating or time with family. And I certainly would not wish to discourage the spirit of giving that reflects the unconditional caring that God has shown to us in countless ways. But with all that takes place in our lives during these few weeks, it can be easy to simply race through the days and check off our to do list, while forgetting about why we do what we do.
As the marathon of the “Christmas shopping season” begins, I would like to make a sugges- tion. Take some time from all the activities and busyness of the coming weeks to remember what the season of Advent is all about. Ultimately, it is not about shopping or decorating or parties. It is about preparation – preparing ourselves to receive a precious gift. This gift of new life was born to us in the most humble and inauspicious of circumstances, but offers a joy and peace that can transcend a holiday to bless us each day of our lives.
May this season of Advent be one of discovery as we discover together how the joy of new birth can transform our lives and, through us, help transform the world.