Thanksgiving weekend marks that week when we start that last 30-day countdown of the year. This week is often chock full of “T’s”— turkey, traveling, traditions, toffee, to-do lists -- and if the boss is smiling this week -- perhaps even time off. For most of us, whether staying home or traveling, it’s a busier season juggling plans, family, kids, flights, and the budget too — since the heating bill often doubles this month along with other unforeseen expenses. Not all of us, but most of us enjoy the change of landscape, the snow on the ground, the tinsel on the tree, and the glow of your stove while enjoying a Hot Buttered Rum. If were not paying attention, then what I’ve mentioned above will be all there is. It will start, happen, and expire. Let’s ponder that for just a moment:
It all starts, happens, and expires — just like that. 34 days from today will be January 2nd. So what will make this year different? What can we do to ensure it’s a meaningful Christmas instead of just another Happy Holiday? In my journal this season, I’ve written a few things down that I hope will assist me in making this season the most meaningful Christmas possible. Perhaps you’d like to consider some of these too…
a) Read the Christmas Story as if you’re reading it for the very first time. It’s easy to rely on the commonality of what we are used to hearing about Nativity. This year, I will try to read both the accounts in Matthew and Luke slowly and out loud as if reading them for the very first time.
b) Consider the Advent Calendar Readings. Each year I pull up Ruth Haley Barton’s website www.TheTransformingCenter.org and follow her thoughts on the Advent of Christ.
c) Give. Give of your heart, your time, your talent, and your treasure. Give to a child, give to the church. Give to the homeless, give to the hopeless. It’s no secret, Jesus’ words are forever true: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This one simple sacrificial gesture is the pillar and heart of what this season has been about for thousands of years. Let’s make a contribution.
d) Give thanks for your life today and the lives of your family. December 2015 will prove to be just the same as every other month. People will be born, people will die. Planes, trains, and automobiles will transport millions near and far. There’s no guarantee for a tomorrow. No one knows “when our time will come.” So be thankful today and tell someone “I love you” today.
e) Less is good, too. Millions on our planet figure out how to live on $3 per day. We can’t do $3, but some of us can live on a little less. I’ll leave that up to each of us to ponder what that might be.
Today is Day 1 of 34. Let’s do what we can to make this year a most meaningful Christmas ever.
With Jesus’ love and hope and cheer to every one of you...