Santa’s “ho-ho-ho” collides with ribbons and wrapping paper, sale displays and flashing lights, as we grasp at conquering the calendar filling with obligations. A friend states, “I hate Christmas. It’s all about the commercialism.” Some choose to avoid the holiday all together. Too painful to think of what it has been and is no longer? I watch and listen as people ask the question, “How can we find the REAL meaning of Christmas?” I observe a movement of frantically grasping for simplicity and filling up lives with events that promise to bring meaning to our Christmas season. I observe these stories in myself. And I wonder.
Star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright. Onward leading, still proceeding, guide us to the perfect light.
The word “advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. Often the definition given is, “a coming into place, view or being; an arrival”. Immanuel, God with us. The Creator God, the Divine Being of the universe, coming down to earth. Born as an innocent baby into this natural, secular, normal, ordinary world. Taking on a human body, coming into the natural human experience of life with the depth of Divinity and Sacredness. Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us. For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given. And the government shall rest on his shoulders and he shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). God come into the world not to separate the secular from the sacred, but to embody the natural and fill it with the Divine. We can look to the advent and remember the deep sacredness of all of God’s Creation.
I can look around and bemoan the amount of commercialism that surrounds this holiday. (And I can consciously choose how to spend my time and money this season). Or I can have gratitude for the reminders all around me of the coming, the advent of our Loving Lord. The twinkling Christmas lights can remind me of the message of the star—“guide us to the perfect light”. Taking the time to think about the people in my life who I love and what might bring them a joyful smile on Christmas morning, knowing that I thought about them and want to bring them joy. Taking moments of quiet and peace, inviting the Lord’s presence into my moments. Seeing the sacred in the bustle of people, the rawness of humanity. What if there is sacredness in all of it? Maybe I can look for it coming: The Lord’s continual Advent into our lives.