Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Midweek Moment

On Sunday I took the risk of following the Holy Spirit and preaching about what to do when you just aren't feeling joyful and happy in the midst of Christmas, "the happiest season of the year" and shared how hard some Christmases have been since my parents died. I was blown away by the number of people who commented in some fashion that they could relate, in previous years or even in this particular year. In trying to talk about the difference between happiness and biblical joy, I also shared how our tendency to compare ourselves against others in this season (with perfect Christmas cards and newsletters) often causes us to be insecure and robs us of our ability to celebrate.

I was reminded this week of a poem I read several years ago from Sharon Jaynes, in her book "Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas." Sharon aptly address this phenomenon by placing the way we celebrate Christmas into the context of I Corinthians 13 with its beautiful description of agape love. These are wonderful guiding principles to help keep our Christmas preparations and celebrations in the right perspective.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at meal time, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook. 

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing. 

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point. 

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens. Love doesn't yell at kids to get out of the way, but is thankful that they are there to be in the way. 

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure. 

Blessings to you in this Advent Season!

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