I have heard from many of you it has been difficult to get your minds wrapped around how quickly Advent arrived and the approach of Christmas this year. I can say at the Yosterosa we are experiencing a similar phenomenon. I don’t know if it is the slapshot/rapid move from Thanksgiving to Advent or if life is just jamming along so fast we can hardly keep up. I suppose it is a little bit of both. I thought we could take an intentional few moments in this newsletter article to get our hearts, minds, and souls jumpstarted into the season of preparation for the arrival of the Christ child. I invite you to read these following questions with a few moments pause to consider each question. Perhaps read and prayerfully consider each question for 10-20 seconds.
Do you have memories of Christmas’ past which really stick out in your memory? Think of the highlight reel moments, the memories you carry with you and treasure the most. Perhaps at different stages of life you have Christmas memories associated with a unique phase of life. What takes you back to that place the most? A picture of a loved one?, Ornaments on your tree which recall fond days? Conversations you shared or stories told? Music or perhaps it is a smell of a favorite food? It is amazing to me how deeply etched and powerful such memories continue to be long after they occurred.
Now I invite you to remember the pivotal time in your life where you became aware that all the decorations, songs, Saint Nicholas, trees, etc. were a part of something bigger. How did you learn the Christmas story? Did you believe it right away? Do you recall when you first realized how miraculous it is that God took on human flesh and dwelt among us? Have you even considered what it must have been like for young Mary to all at once have the confidence of seeing Gabriel the angel, yet wrapped in fear as an unwed mother in her day certainly would have been? Have you considered our belief that God is being incarnate in our lives today by the Holy Spirit? What does that mean in your life?
It is important for the body of Christ to remember there are many out there who still think Christmas is the tree and cookies, lights and presents. My prayer is for each of us to prayerfully find a way to share what Christmas means to us with at least one person who does not know the full story. Take a moment and pray for that one person, or pray for God to show you who that person may be. Pray for an opportunity to listen to their story and an opportunity to share yours. Invite them to join you at an activity at Wesley this Advent and Christmas. This is the time of year people are most willing to hear about the goodness of Christ’s birth and God’s grace given through him. The single largest objection people have to talking to people about our faith is “not knowing what to say.”
Besides jumpstarting our hearts, minds and souls into the season, if you read the above questions prayerfully guess what? You know exactly what to say. You know how to connect with anyone in the secular Christmas celebration. You also can share how you first learned about the Christmas message. You know exactly how to pass this Good News and Glad Tidings on to the world around you.