I don’t know about you but it seems to me that the shops begin their preparations for Christmas earlier and earlier each year! I spotted the first Christmas cards in the shops not long after the children returned to school after the summer holidays and I’ve already lost count of the amount of fully decorated Christmas trees and windows festooned with lights I’ve seen - and as I write it’s not even December yet!!
There seems to be an indecent haste to get to Christmas and I can’t help but feel that so much is missed out on by not taking things a little slower. For the church of course, before Christmas, comes Advent. A period of expectation and preparation when we celebrate Christ’s incarnation and look forward to his coming again. This time of prayer and reflection helps us to refocus on the hope we have as Christians and is a real opportunity to help us regain some balance in our otherwise busy lives. But it is quite a challenge in the fast paced world we inhabit these days.
I get sucked into the commercial side of Christmas as much as the next person but I’ve decided to try and make some changes this year and see
if I can reach Boxing Day without feeling like Christmas has all come and gone in a blur of manic shopping and frantic baking which leaves me short-tempered and the wrong side of ‘festive’!!!
I thought I’d start with the whole present buying malarkey. My children are all in their 20’s now, with homes of their own and a regular income and I end up buying them things that they neither need nor expressed any desire to have! We have agreed, along with a few other family members, to just buy one present for one person.......a Secret Santa. All our names went into a hat and we’ve all picked out a name and will just buy for that person. Hopefully we will each receive one nice present and nobody will have spent a fortune on unnecessary things. However, my children have firmly informed me that Santa simply has to provide his usual stocking for each of them or they will have no new underwear to see them through the year!!! Oh well, I guess it’s a start!!
I’m also very keen to try to reduce the amount of resources I waste, both at Christmas and throughout the rest of the year, so I’m going for the brown paper and string method of wrapping presents rather than buying new wrapping paper - although I fear that my attempts won’t quite match the chic ones I’ve seen online!!
These are just a couple of changes that I hope will lead to others as I journey through Advent towards Christmas. If nothing else, I’m hoping that by questioning what I am doing and why, I may be more intentional in my preparations for Christmas and less caught up in the commercialism.
Above all, I pray that despite my busyness and preoccupation that I may remember afresh God’s Advent invitation, to be patient, to prepare and take stock and to anticipate, with growing excitement, the joy that is promised through the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ on Christmas Day.
Whatever your plans, I pray that it will be so for you too.
Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a joyful New Year.
With love Ginni