Stop. It’s OK

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”  (Luke 1:47 NIV)

Ok all you nay sayers, it’s finally time for you to begin to celebrate Christmas. You were the epitome of the Grinch when the stores put out their Christmas decorations in August.  You whined about how Christmas was going to “take over or overshadow Thanksgiving”  Now you have no excuse. And for the record, yeah Christmas is supposed to overshadow Thanksgiving. One is about our being Thankful and diving into a food orgy. The other is about the Incarnation of God.  And before you get upset with me about Thanksgiving, please read last week’s post. I’m all for celebration.

The “official” beginning of The Advent season got me to thinking though.  What is it that marks the beginning of the Season for you? Is it that first candle lit on the Advent wreath at church?

Is it Santa at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade? No judging, by the way. If that’s the signal for you, that’s fine.  After all when I was a kid there were two signals that the Season began. One was the old Norelco ad of Santa riding on a razor like a sled

 

Cute isn’t it? Did you see what they did there? Noel, Noelco…Norelco.. Anyway, they only ran this at Christmas time when I was a kid. It was a sure as an Advent Calendar in our lives.  But it wasn’t the real  signal. No it was the precursor, the John the Baptist of Christmas signals. No. Evry child knew there was a song, and one song alone that made our hearts lighter and thinking of Christmas.  No, not “O, Holy Night” or even Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  It was this

You watched the whole thing didn’t you? Be glad I didn’t put up the 10 hour loop.  But as a child, before the days of streaming and DVD’s you had one shot at seeing this. And this meant Christmas. How can you not love it? You have a kid who dances like a Zombie from the Walking Dead, the twin girls who later make an appearance in The Shining, and that cool kid in the yellow shirt who has the best understated moves of all.

Of course, while this still kind of does, it my tastes have changed somewhat. What about you? Is it one of the Hymns? Perhaps something a little more recent like “Mary Did you Know?”  As we are beginning Advent together, let me make a suggestion for you, just to get you in the right frame of mind, for this Advent season.  Harry Chapin’s “The Cat’s in the Cradle”

I’m not going to post it here, it’s easy for you to find. And I know it seems like the least likely Christmas/Advent song at all. But do you remember what the song is about? A Dad, who never has time for his son because of the busyness of his life, eventually loses his son because he has “trained him up in the way he should go” The son becomes too busy for the father. It’s about our not losing sight of what is important in life.  Not letting the busy work of life blind us to what’s important.

Sound familiar? A lot of us come into the Advent season unwillingly because all we can see is the busy work. The Tree, gifts, shopping coking baking. Oh yeah, and if we can, we’ll  sprinkle a little Jesus in somewhere.

When did Christmas become something we dread instead of something we can’t wait to experience?  Don’t let all the preparations this year keep you from experiencing the wonder of the birth of Jesus, God Himself born that we might  be saved. That the world might be redeemed.

This year, let me encourage you to stop. Don’t get everything done. It’s OK Christmas will come anyway. Take a breath. Pray more. Gaze into the manger with wonder. Hold your loved ones just a bit longer. Laugh more. Breathe. Maybe you’ll find your song changing into that first Advent song, Mary’s Magnificat we see at the top of this page. Isn’t that a better song to sing?

 

In Christ,

Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><

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