Monday, November 25, 2013

Silly Season or Re-orientation?

This coming Sunday marks the beginning of Advent  – the time in the traditional church calendar when Christmas is celebrated. Advent is about expectant waiting, preparation and reorientation as we look forward to Christmas, to the coming of Christ into our world.

For many though, the next four weeks are regarded as the ‘silly season’, a time of stress and anxiety as we try to navigate the hustle and bustle of a consumer-driven materialistic Christmas. Fuelled by clever marketing, for some Christmas brings a whole lot of pressure to give the right gifts, to eat the right food, to throw the right kind of party. But we don't actually have to buy into these pressures. We don't have to be overwhelmed at Christmas.

Advent offers us four weeks to re-orientate our thinking around the true meaning of Christmas – Christ with us. We remember Jesus' birth two thousand years ago and that, in Jesus, hope entered our story. Knowing how the story unfolds, we're reminded that in Jesus, his life, his death and his resurrection, there is an arms wide open invitation to receive grace and love and reconciliation. Advent is also a chance to remember that Jesus still seeks to be a part of our lives today! Hope, joy, peace and love are found in Christ and that’s what we celebrate at Christmas.

So this Christmas, if you're feeling overwhelmed by the ‘jolliness’ of the jingles, if you're feeling pressured to give beyond your means, if you're tempted by months and months of differed payments and interest free options, if you're feeling anxious, stressed, disorientated, lonely or lost – take a moment to pause and reflect. Consider the reason for the season, the coming of Christ and the joy, hope, peace and love found in him. These things can be a reality in your life today. Don't be consumed by the consumerism of the season.

Maybe you could purchase an Advent reflections booklet for your Kindle or iPad? They are only a few dollars but full of meaningful reflections for this time of the year. I briefly looked at the following and they all seemed to be good value. 

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