Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas is here, or is it?

This year we are posed with an unique situation. The Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve fall on the same day. As this happens only once every 7 years or so we may get confused and become more focused on Christmas and leave Advent in the dust. As Christians we know the speical meaning of Advent and hopefully this post will help to clarify why it is important to keep the Advent and Christmas seasons separate. Make sure to attend both special celebrations this year.

It's that time of year agin - well almsot! It will be Advent one week from today. But looking around you may think Christmas is just a day away. I thought I'd take some time to post about this joyful season of Advent, but let's not get it confused with another separate but beautiful season of Christmas.

This is a bit hard to do as the stores get busier and busier with shopper after shopper stocking up on wrapping paper, bows and egg nog(gotta have the nog)! In the last few years I've noticed the signs that Christmas are on the way sneaking in a little earlier each year. This year I heard people commenting with much dismay that they saw Christmas trees for sale in August at Costco....let me tell you this got people talking. Then as I was purchasing new Halloween items I no sooner had to look across the aisle and there, just a little peek of red, green and gold! Tinsel and lights just waiting on the sidelines, just waiting for Halloween to just get out of it's way. It's kind of like when you put all that stuff in your closet and it is stuffed to the brim and as soon as it's opened.......BAM, your stuff is everywhere and you are wondering how it is that you got all that stuff in there in the first place. This is what happens with the Christmas items. Once they get the word, BAM - - - - Christmas literally explodes. By the time Christmas day is over, the majority of people are all Christmased out. By the time the last of the turkey is gobbled up and the last of the wrapping paper has been disposed of - for moste people this is the end. Christmas is officially over. By boxing day, the precious Christmas tree will have been given its eviction notice and be sitting on the curb.

With all of this activity it's easy to lose sight of what is important. As Christians we are urged to keep the spiritual focus amidst the consumer driving materialistic society. In this midst of this Advent season let us as Christian people strive to keep this a season of waiting, rejoicing and hope. Let's make sure to keep the needy in our prayers and be sure to be generous to those with less. And as we decorate with boughs and tinsel let us also make sure to keep a space for the coming Lord in our hearts.

It doesn't take much to ensure that you keep a prayerful place in your heart at this time of year. There are lovely Advent weekly prayer books to guide you and your family through Advent, day by day with readings and reflections to help us focus on what is important. I know we as a family use the Word Among Us, Advent booklet. It's a great way to pray during this season. If you are baking for your family, why not bake a few dozen cookies and take to a senior centre or to a soup kitchen. Consider going through some of your own belongings, are there things that you can let go of to enrich another's life? If you simply don't have the ability to donate monetary items, please take time during each day to pray for those who are in need of food, clothing shelter and much more.

May God Bless you and Yours this Advent season with a joyfilled season filled! Happy Advent!

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