The weeks leading up to Christmas have always been a time of joy for me. Watching ever increasing number of presents pile up under a beautifully decorated tree thrilled me as a child. Now I enjoy hunting for the perfect gift for loved ones and transforming them into works of art with wrapping paper and string. Anticipation of the coming day of celebration wells up as Christmas carols fill my home. It’s the one time of year I know the lyrics and sing along with the familiar tunes.
The season of Advent in the church begins on December 1st. Like Christmas, it’s a time of expectant waiting and anticipated joy at the birth of the Christ Child. It also reminds us of Jesus’ promised return, when the sorrows of this world will be swallowed up.
Both Advent and Christmas inspire us to focus on joy, to think of others, and live in faith. It’s a time to give of self and resources, to spread good cheer, and to receive like a child the gifts our Father bestows upon us. Let us be thankful for the good we have, and with faith, look forward to the time of fulfillment of God’s Word, when all creation will rejoice.
Jesus IS the reason for the season. Amid the hustle and bustle as the days tick by toward Christmas, I pray that we can stay focused on joy. Let hope fuel our days and peace fill our hearts while we reach out to others with kindness and generosity during this blessed Christmas season of Advent.