I. love. Christmas.
I mean really love Christmas. It is my favourite time of year.
Now, let me clarify: I do not love shopping. I do not love the commercialization fo Christmas. And I definitely do not love the fact that these days, Christmas seems to begin in September!
But we are in December now. Advent has started. ‘Tis actually the season!
And I am reminded once more of what I love about Christmas. I love the way people are. I love that once you cut through the ‘busyness’ and stress over presents and money, once you get past the frustration, you get a glimpse of what Christmas is really about.
Although the last two have been good, I still love the 2011 John Lewis Christmas advert the most. The one where the little boy is counting down the time until Christmas, desperately willing it to come about. And the moment it arrives, he rushes out of bed, past his own presents, and eagerly brings his parents the gift he has got for them.
Just like in any successful relationship, gifts at Christmas are not meant to be about what you get. They are about what you give.
Christmas is about hospitality.
In Poland, they have a really beautiful Christmas tradition. Every Christmas, when it comes to the big meal, an extra seat is always provided. That seat is to symbolize Christ, yes, but it is also there as a sign that anyone is welcome, and in Poland, those who are homeless, poor, or alone on Christmas know that they are welcome, they are cherished, and the celebration is for all.
Christmas is a time to welcome. To welcome family, friends, and so many others, into our homes and hearts. For Jesus said: “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)
Christmas is about expectancy.
At Christmas, as Christians, we recall the first coming of Christ as a baby in a manger. But there is also another focus. The Christmas season looks back in fondness, but it also looks forward in hope. At Christmastime, we particularly look forward to Christ’s second coming, and Advent is such a perfect time to really reflect on this and prepare ourselves, not just for Christmas day, but for life everlasting.
This season is a time to hope and pray for a better future, for a better life to come.
Christmas is about Christ.
The clue is in the title: Christmas. It’s quite simple really. Christmas is not about commercialization. It is not about Santa Claus, Christmas trees and mince pies (although all of these are great fun in and of themselves!). The bigger picture at Christmas does not include reindeer. It is God Himself, come to us in the most beautiful and vulnerable form He could have: as a child.
So I hope this Advent will be a time of preparation and prayer for you, and that Christmas will be exciting, not just because of family, traditions and carols, but because at its very heart, it is a celebration of the humble obedience and beautiful peace of our God, come to earth as a vulnerable, defence-less child, for you and for me. I pray that Christmas this year will bring you the joy and peace of Christ, and that you may truly have a very merry Christmas!