Christmas Elves, the Dark Side

I love Christmas.  Maybe too much.

I might have been a Christmas Elf in another life.  I’m one of those obnoxious people who starts playing Christmas music the day after Halloween (admit it, there are others reading this that are with me).

When we first moved to Minnesota two women invited me to join them in a Bible study.  Right before Christmas we met at the home of one of them.  Both said they weren’t going to decorate for Christmas because it was too much hassle.  We did not become friends and the Bible study lasted about as long as Christmas cookies that are anywhere near my husband.

But as much as I dive in with jolly holiday gusto, I fear that the activity of Christmas can hinder the activity of God in me.

As I was walking this morning, my first impulse was to cue up a podcast to listen to, but I caught myself and stopped as I thought about the coming Advent season.  The verse that came to mind was “My ways are not your ways.” (Is. 55:8)

The first Christmas was marked by waiting,

                                                                      listening,

                                                                               wonder,

                                                                                        worship.

Instead, we get stories about “competitive shopping incidents” with pepper spray.

It seems that it’s more important to be intentional about choosing the spiritual practices of slowing, silence, and solitude in this season that threatens to carry us away in a frenzy of activity, stress, noise, and anxiety.  That’s easy to affirm in the abstract, but what  practical commitments can we make?

What if it meant we turned off

a computer, a radio, a t.v.

in favor of silence.

What if we put down…

a phone, a shopping list, an invitation

in favor of being present to God and others.

What if we fought against hurry with the practice of slowing? (SO hard for me!  You?)

Getting in the longest line in stores…

Letting another car have the close parking place…

Building in enough margin to our schedule that we can take a meal to someone in need…

What spiritual practice might you commit to this Advent season?

I'd love to hear from you and others will be enriched by your thoughts! Share here and continue the conversation.

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