"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent - Day 1 Sunday, November 27

Advent – Day 1 Sunday, November 27

Have you gotten your house or dorm room all decorated for Christmas? Way back in the dark ages when I was young, people did not usually decorate until just a couple weeks before Christmas. Stores never had Christmas decorations or advertisements until after Thanksgiving and there was no such thing as “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” shopping.

Now we see Christmas hitting the stores just after Labor Day, craziness and mayhem beginning in the stores after Thanksgiving and it seems every day and evening is filled with church, school, business, family and neighborhood Christmas things. Not wanting to be left out, we join the crowds and rushing willy nilly through the rushing torrent known as the “joyous” holiday season and finally arrive at the first of January full of stress and frustration.

For a number of years, Christmas was my least favorite time of year. I dreaded for mid-November to come because I knew my evenings for the next five or six weeks would be occupied by music rehearsals, church meetings, church dinners, church services, business dinners and meet & greet parties, family reunions, and on and on. Fa-la-la-la-la-ppbbt! I could have easily skipped the whole thing. I never decorated my home because I was never home to enjoy it. And the worst part of it all was that I lost the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus, my Saviour.

It’s different for me now. I don’t know whether it is a result of growing older and realizing that I just had to slow it down and smell the pine branches or a result of the fact I finally learned how to prepare for Christmas. For Christ. For the season of His birth. His birth was on a quiet night in a small town with not a lot of hubbub. So different from the world in 2011. I had to learn to say ‘no’ to some things that may be fun, but would just put me over the top of the stress pot. In time, that stress pot would overflow and the reason for the season would be lost.

This morning, our church began Advent with the traditional service of the “Hanging of the Green.” It was glorious. Simple, calm, informal in a way, no one screaming if a musical mistake was made or someone stood up at the wrong time. The garlands and wreaths were hung, holly and ivy set in place, candles lit, poinsettias set out and lots of music. Again, it was glorious. A time for my church family to come together and begin the Advent season. Advent. The coming of Christ. Emmanuel.

How are you preparing for the upcoming celebration of the coming of Christ? Let me encourage you to not act like me in times past and go full-goose-bozo-crazy with all the stuff, but to keep your eyes on Jesus. Immerse yourself in the Bible and find some good daily Advent devotionals. (I just happen to have a couple books of Advent devotions that I’ve written in years past that I’d be glad to give you…..selfish self-promotion here). I’ll be praying for you as we all enter this exciting season.

Joy to the World!


At 5:07 PM, Blogger scatterbrained said...

You and I are on the same page. Being single and my son not being at home, I quit decorating for Christmas. I put out my nativity, placed presents underneath so that I had a visual reminder of what the gifts of Christmas were all about and it wasn't about helping retailers get into the black. This year, my son is in my home along with a 2 year old grandson,so I hit garage sales and used my creative noggin to prepare for Christmas with a small child in the house. Thankfully, my small budget kept me from overdoing on decorations.

I would like your devotionals, however, I live in Texas. Would you consider mailing them? I will reimburse you the cost.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Jimmy said...

Thanks so much, Scatterbrained, for your encouraging words. I'd be honored to send you a devotional book, just send me your mailing address at jaydcochran@yahoo.com and I'll drop it in the mail to you quickly. No need to reimburse the cost, it is my pleasure.


At 8:12 AM, Blogger scatterbrained said...

I emailed my address. Hopefully it did not go into your spam folder.



At 8:47 PM, Blogger Jimmy said...

I didn't get the email, Alisa, and didn't see it in my spam folder. Could you send it again to jaydcochran@yahoo.com and put Advent Devotions in the subject line?


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