Advent - Come Lord, Jesus

In my faith tradition, Roman Catholicism, the weeks leading up to Christmas is called the season of Advent. It is a time we are to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Christ Child. The Church tries really hard to get us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas but I have a feeling that most of us aren't really getting it.

We are like most other people. We are focused on getting all of our shopping done, decorating our houses and baking cookies for our holiday get-togethers. And we're trying to fit all of this in our already too busy schedules of work, ball games, TV programs, etc. We begin to feel stressed over the fact that we have way too much to do and way too little time. We become cranky and short-tempered - and never quite settle ourselves down long enough to meditate on celebrating the birth of the Christ Child and what it means for us today. Christmas Day comes, we go to Church, open gifts, eat a big meal and secretly, we're glad it's over so we can get some rest.

I think most of us are operating under the assumption that we are celebrating a birth that happened 2000 years ago. What most of us don't realize is that we should use the weeks leading up to Christmas anticipating a birth that is still to come. For though Jesus was physically born into our world 2000 years ago, He is still waiting to be born in the 'hearts' of many of us. That's what Advent and the Christmas Season is really all about - preparing our 'hearts' to receive the Christ Child - to allow Him to be born in our own lives.

How ironic it is. As Christians we are offended when other faith traditions want to take Christ out of Christmas. We are offended when someone says 'Happy Holidays' rather than 'Merry Christmas'. But Christmas is more than a greeting.

I wonder how the world might become different, if, as Christians, we celebrated the birth of Christ, not by exchanging expensive gifts with our family and friends, but instead focusing our attention on the needs of the world around us. What if we showed God's love by giving of ourselves - all year long - to the hungry and the poor. What if we denied ourselves some luxuries - ate out less, drove less expensive cars, lived in smaller homes, had fewer electronic toys, a simpler cell phone plan, etc. and instead shared some of our blessings with those in need. You see, most of us are not opposed to sharing with those less fortunate -as long as we don't have to give up any of our own comforts. We will gladly share a little of our 'extras' but don't ask us to give till it hurts.

All these years I've been celebrating Christmas and I still haven't gotten it right. Not even close. It's hard to change traditions but I think I need to distance myself a little bit each year from the particular ways I've been taught to celebrate this season, for I truly want Christ to be born anew in my heart.

This is a time of WAITING and PREPARING for what's REALLY IMPORTANT. Come, Lord Jesus. Come, fill my heart with your love. Fill it until it overflows into the world around me - and then fill it some more. Amen.

3 / 20 comments
Nov 26, 2010  ( 3 comments )  
Cheryl Leadbeater (together_we_will_grow)
ouch.   I just read this after a long day of shopping for gifts that everyone could do without.  Every year I say Christmas is too commercialized, and every year I go out and help promote the commercialism.  Sure we give to the food pantry, and take names from the Advent tree, but we don't give up anything to do it. You are right, I need to find a way to celebrate the true reason for the season....
Cheryl Leadbeater (together_we_will_grow)

After I read this Isearched for ways to bring Christ back into Christmas and there are some good ideas here

  1. Have each family member give a gift to Jesus by writing down a promise to do or not do something (such as helping out mother, being nice to a sister, not lying). Keep them all in a wrapped box under the tree. On Christmas Day, New Year's, or the following Christmas, open up the box and have everyone evaluate his or her improvement.
  2. Set aside one night, such as Christmas Eve, to make a holy night of reading from the scriptures the Christmas story and other stories of Jesus's life and teachings. Sing Christmas hymns together.

  3. Follow a scriptural advent calendar, reading a scripture about Christ every night.

  4. Involve the family in service: Jesus's life was all about serving others. There are plenty of opportunities during Christmas.

  5. Visit friends, bringing treats and singing holy Christmas carols (if they are religious as well).

  6. Participate in or watch religious Christmas programs, pageants, and choir performances to remember Christ.

  7. Decorate your home with nativity scenes and pictures of Christ.
  8. Attend church every Sunday in December, or at least on Christmas Eve or Day.

Read more: How to Remember Christ during Christmas |
Dee Huber (dgh118)
Yeah those are great ideas!  I've decided the last couple of years that I need to try to compromise.  Christmas is really crazy with the Hubers.  They've always gone all out.  Their mom did and I think it's a way Martha and Marilyn try to keep her with them at Christmas.  I've never tried to keep up with them money wise.  I'd end up in the poor house if I did.  But I do like to make sure I have several packages for each of them that aren't 'junk'.  So the last couple of years, I've started my shopping in October.  I look for bargains and use coupons.  I try to be pretty much done by the first week of December so I can chill out the rest of the month, baking, decorating and spending extra time in prayer.  This year during Advent, Father Jeff is having prayer and Benediction on Wednesday afternoons so I've decided to do that.  Plus, our church was handing out Advent Packets with meditation books for Advent.  I'm going to try really hard to draw closer to the Christ Child each day!!!
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