It’s that time of year again…
Time to plan the decorations,
Perhaps this year we will find an extra cute ornament from Anthropology,
Time to get the tree,
Time to write the cards, and losing sleep over who gets one and who doesn’t.
Then there is the Christmas menu, catering for all the needs of the family; the gluten free, the dairy free and the new college girlfriend that is an overly zealous vegan.
Then comes the seating which requires as much political maneuvering and diplomatic tact as a UN general council meeting.
All accommodated for and sought out with festive cheer and hospitality. All of this planning, effort, stress and financial expenditure come and go in a flash and the 26th comes around and we are left feeling exhausted, heavy-hearted about that awkward conversation with a triggering relative, left drawing a blank on something new to do with all that turkey or ham and ultimately asking what was that all about? What did we just celebrate?
There is only so much that tinsel and show-stopping desserts can cover up. That meticulously planned seating arrangements can only create a cease-fire… when truly all we long for is peace. The money and the pressure we put on ourselves to create a perfect Christmas experience just misses the point completely and misdirects us. It creates a pressure to perform and the whole narrative around Christmas we have as a nation is a perfect fantasy that no family can live up to. All this just distracts us from what the incarnation teaches us. Jesus, the perfect man, fully God came into an imperfect world to redeem it and redeem us. He came to heal broken people and make them new, heal fractured families, to bring old hurts to light and give outcasts a place of honor at the table.
This year let’s try and fail to live out the perfect fantasy. Let us remember that advent and Christmas day are opportunities to be present with the ones we love, opportunities to be present with ourselves and an opportunity to wrestle with what it means to be imperfect but being made new, in an imperfect world that is being restored.
So how can you experience Advent in this busy time? There are many resources and advent materials to help bring the Advent season into reality for your family, including this website from IgnatianSpirituality.com that provides Advent prayers and this book entitled Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Christ, available for purchase. An interesting article in the New York Times discussing Advent in the face of commercialism is a great read. Finally, this podcast from The Liturgists is an entertaining listen. In addition, Memorial will have a line-up of engaging sermons to highlight the season from a biblical perspective.
ADVENT SERMON SCHEDULE:
- December 15, Rev. Dr. JR Thicklin, President of Palm Beach County Clergy Alliance, will discuss John 1:6-11
- December 22, Drew Melton will discuss Luke 1:26-38
- December 24, Jordan Smith will discuss Luke 2:1-14
- December 29, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Grenz, PBAU Dean of School of Ministry, will discuss Isaiah 9:2-7
Contact us at Memorial for additional information.