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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 24th Day of Advent - Tuesday, December 20

Through the door beside me, I hear the classic words of a lovely Christmas song and find myself singing along….“I just want a hula hooooop,” Then I find myself humming that “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.” Yep, I’m spending the morning in the kid’s room at the Library and story time is going on in the room behind me. Through the window, I can hear jingle bells and see the little kiddies jumping around the room in all manner of happy Christmas joy. As Miss Kathy settled the boys and girls down for the stories, I noticed that some of the books were kinda ragged and worn….the sign of a well-loved book. Sometimes when the books get too ragged and worn, the library has people that know how to fix them to look almost brand new again. That’s why some of the wonderful kid’s books (and adult books) are still on the shelves and enjoyed for years and years and years.

As we get older, our hearts get kinda ragged and worn, too. As I hit the big 60 in a very short time, I find myself rather cynical at times (I prefer to think of myself as a loveable, yet sometimes grumpy curmudgeon) about the state of the world, people in general and sometimes even the institutional church. Pretty much everything. And as I’ve written before, the days I spend in the library kid’s room always seem to refresh my heart because of the loveable and funny kids. The purity, imagination and innocence of a child is a wonderful thing and my stodgy old heart can use the boost on occasion….especially at Christmas.

During my Advent journey this year, I have tried to focus more on Jesus and a lot less on the world. I’ve looked for ways to keep my heart from becoming more ragged and worn because of the hectic, stressful days of this season. How about you? Are you feeling more and more pressured because of the holiday demands of jobs, family, church? Do you find yourself forgetting about Jesus in all the madness?

Do this for me….one evening this week, take a ride around and just look at Christmas lights on houses and in town. The McDonough Square is always a nice place to start. Then, when you get home, do not turn on the television and video games…put on some Christmas music, have a cup of hot chocolate, eggnog, cider, or even sweet tea. Doesn’t matter as long as you just sit back and enjoy a beverage as you think about what Jesus means to you and your family. Give someone a call you have lost track of, but used to be important in your life. Don’t email, text or facebook them. Call them. Catch up. Stop by the library and get a good Christmas book to read. There are lots of them, usually on a display inside the front doors. Read the Christmas Story in Luke. In Matthew. Write your own personal Christmas story. My family has been sitting around the dinner table and talking about our favorite Christmas memories and our favorite gifts. Our favorite church Christmas memory.

Jesus can take your heart and make it brand new as you travel through this Advent season and celebrate His birth in just a few days. Just listen to His gentle knocking.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!


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