Getting At The Heart Of Christmas

Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent. In many traditions, this week’s focus is on love.

Did you feel the love at the mall, when you were hunting for a parking place and that family you waited for was just unloading their bags before their next round of shopping?

Did you feel the love at the department store, when you couldn’t find what you were looking for, but you found something else that would do, and you only had to wait in line for 45 minutes to pay twice as much as you were planning on spending?

Did you feel the love when you were up late wrapping presents and found that your husband used the last bit of tape and left just enough paper on each of roll so that you thought there was plenty left?

While I usually do get into the spirit of Christmas, I almost always find it hard to keep my focus on “the reason for the season” as the day approaches. My “to-do” list is dauntingly un-done, and I start to worry about whether I have done enough–bought enough gifts, baked enough cookies–to give my family a special Christmas.

When this happens (as it does every year) I try to remind myself of the lesson the Grinch had to learn:

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”

As the narrator tells us:

Christmas Day is in our grasp
so long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we.
Welcome, Christmas, while we stand
Heart to heart … and hand in hand.”

In these last few days before Christmas, I will be shopping and wrapping and cooking and baking, but I also will do my best to remember that the reason I am doing all of this is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with my family and to honor Him by proclaiming the Good News of God’s love for us all. That gift doesn’t need to be shipped, wrapped or decorated, and is perfect for sharing with everyone.

Prayer for the Fourth Week of Advent:
In our watching and our waiting,
Come Lord Jesus.
In our hopes and in our fears,
Come Lord Jesus.
In our homes and in our world,
Come Lord Jesus.
Come bless us and surprise us.

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