From December 1st our morning routine includes the opening a little paper door on our advent calendar. This non chocolate nativity scene is our traditional way to follow the Christmas story. For some this countdown involves the eating of chocolate. This early morning sugar high can often be followed by panic as they are reminded of how little time they have left to prepare for Christmas.
With Christmas preparations for some starting in September we should all have plenty of time to get ready for Christmas.
I am sure even the most disorganised households can’t take 12 weeks to prepare a roast diner, decorate a tree and buy a few gifts.
The commercialism of Christmas takes control. We are constantly being told to shop and indulge in Christmas . We loose the ability to pay attention to what is going on within us and to what is happening around us.
Late on Christmas Eve 1914, men of the British Expeditionary Force heard German troops in the trenches opposite them singing carols and songs they saw lanterns and small fir trees along their trenches. Messages began to be shouted between the trenches.
The following day, British and German soldiers met in no man’s land and exchanged gifts, took photographs and some played impromptu games of football. They buried the dead repaired trenches and dugouts.
They stopped for Christmas .
They stopped fighting I guess we will never know the motivations for such a complex event to happen. Some portray this event as a magical event. Romanticising
the laying down of arms.
I think it was far from magical but in the stopping it showed the humility of war.
The humility that is Christmas .
Christmas is a celebration of God becoming human: -That’s why I stop . To say thank you for Jesus .
The hugeness of Christmas is lost in the shops. It cannot been seen when we over indulge ourselves and others.
Advent for me means slowing down stopping; to make time to feel the silence and the stillness . Christmas for me is a time to rest, grow and pray . Stopping and standing away from the crowd allows me to journey through advent in a way that feels comfortable to me .
Christmas is a gift to us. A gift that needs to be received. Unwrapping such a special gift needs to be done slowly, taking time to discover its beauty and love.
I love writing and making Christmas cards . Its taking the opportunity to pray for and be thankful for friends and family .
To my elderly friends it’s not the card they are pleased with. It’s the time I spend with them when delivering the card.
The best gift I can give to my friends and family this Christmas is time. Given freely and not rushed.
Sharing with them and celebrating the joy of Christmas.
I can give this time because it’s really important to me.
It’s more important for me to take time away from work at Christmas than it is to have a summer holiday .
I don’t want to work flat out to pay for the Christmas that society believes I should have and enjoy.
I want the opportunity to connect with the community, have conversations invite them stop and engage with the Christmas story.
The beauty of creation is in abundance this time of year. Hedgerows are full of seasonal gifts that add colour and joy . Spending time outside walking and collecting greenery is one of my favourite Christmas activities . I give small gifts that if possible are hand made or made by someone else locally. When I do shop It’s making the effort to support local shops and charities so Christmas can continue on giving.
It’s very easy to quickly get caught up in the Christmas that I don’t want .
It takes a conscious effect to stop.
Philippians 2:7-8The Message (MSG)
5-8 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.