Tuesday, 22 November 2011

To us a son is given

The house is quiet.  The hum of the fridge is all I hear.  And the slow, rhythmic ticking of the clock.  The smell of bread baking fills the house, comforting me as I sit here in the sun which pours through the windows.
The kids will soon be home from school, bursting through the door, hungry and hurried to get homework finished before the evening rush begins.  Tonight it is a Dr’s appointment, dance, supper, and Bible study, with a meeting and staff Christmas dinner scratched off the list.
So I savour this moment in time, sip a hot chocolate and attempt to write about the practice of preparing for Christmas.  I have to confess, I have never thoughtfully prepared for this season before.  I have just let it happen and carry me away – the hustle, the bustle, the glitter, the busyness of it all.  It’s alluring, captivating.  It’s everywhere.  In large doses, earlier and earlier each year.  
And each year, I get caught up in it all.  Sung to sleep, I shop, wrap, eat, anticipate, anticipate, decorate, anticipate with excitement, sip hot apple cider.  
And at approximately 11:00 a.m. on December 25th, it ends with a thud. 
I’m not sure if anyone else hears it or not.  But it’s there.  I think it is the sound of my heart dropping to the pit of my stomach.  The realization that the anticipation was a let- down.  Again.  And I fell for it.  Again.
As I sit here and take in the warmth of the sun on this cold November day I read these words:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Is. 9:6
To us a child is given.  For God so loved the world He gave his only son.  I know these words.  I know the reality, their meaning.  But they breathe fresh life today.  They come alive.  Jesus, Son of God, was the first Christmas gift.  Not, gold, incense and myrrh.
There was so much love behind that first gift.  God is love.  God so loved you, me, the world, which hated him, that He gave us His Son.
And in 2,000 years we have taken the lowly, humble babe in a manger, offered with a love we cannot even fathom, and we have:
  • Rejected him
  • Crucified him
  • Wrapped him in tinsel, ribbons, bows and lights that flash to music
  • Colored him red, stuck a hat on his head, dumped him in a sleigh, added a bunch of reindeer and some magic, and called him Santa, the spirit of Christmas, the feel-good hohoho of the holiday
And spend way too much money doing it – trying to build up that anticipation, the joy, the peace, the feel-goodness of it all.
And I stand here guilty as charged.
Yet at the same time, I feel like Scrooge (or the Grinch) because I am beginning to hate this kind of Christmas.  I love Christmas.  Yet I hate it.  I love what it should be.  I hate what it has become.  So sitting here sipping my hot chocolate, the time left to be quiet in reflection getting shorter, I thoughtfully wonder, “How can I intentionally prepare for Christmas this year? How can it be different, more meaningful and true, less anticipation building and thud?”
To us a son is given.  For God so loved the world he gave his only son. 
Love was behind the first Christmas.  Love was behind the first gift.  Love was the reason.  A love we can know, when we receive the gift, but a love far beyond our comprehension.  We will never be able to grasp how wide, and long, and high and deep is the love of Christ.  It is a love that surpasses all knowledge (Eph 3:18-19).  It is a love that is higher than the heavens are above the earth (Ps.103:11)
The moment of quiet has vanished like the morning mist.  The front door bangs shut, the thumping of heavy feet race up the stairs and smiles stretch across their faces as they take in the smell of the bread just out of the oven.
 But my intentional preparation for the season fast approaching is not over.  I hope you’ll come back and join me as I try to slow down and learn the practice of preparing for Christmas. Maybe you’ve got some insight to share?

1 Comments:

At 14 December 2011 at 14:56 , Blogger Amy Sullivan said...

Stephanie,
Excited to find you through Emily's link-up, and wow, this post goes along perfectly with some of what's been on my mind over the last year. I can't wait to read more about your slowing down Christmas process.

Nice meeting you.

 

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