This year I saw Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas displays in stores at the same time. Someone suggested that we now have a three-month celebration of ‘Hallothanksmas."
I resist and resent the blurring of these holidays. The impression is that all three are equal somehow. The secular holiday of Halloween can be fun especially for children and the celebration of the national day of Thanksgiving is a good thing for all of us. But neither of these days can compare with Christmas Day.
Christmas marks the birthday of Jesus. Because of the significance of this event that changed the world, for centuries the Christian Church has used the season of Advent as a time of expectant waiting in preparation for celebrating the birth of the Christ Child.
In one of her "Grace Notes" newspaper columns a few years ago, Lorraine V. Murray asked the question: Which Jesus do we await during this Advent season?
Will it be the CEO Jesus "who preaches the prosperity gospel" and rewards his favorites and punishes others with poverty? Or will it be some kind of "super hero?" There are many other false images of this Jesus who left heaven and came down to earth in the form of a baby born in Bethlehem.
Instead of these popular images, Ms. Murray suggests that Christmas marks the birthday of a "rebel who didn't mind ruffling the feathers of polite society." She reminds us that Jesus was "no stranger to heartache." He was the Good Shepherd who "wept over Jerusalem and still mourns over the untold suffering of the helpless ones in our world today."
This writer goes on to describe Jesus as a servant. A tenderhearted and joyful man. "A mysterious man who turned the world upside down." She goes on to assert "that this little one born in that lowly stable so long ago grew up to become the Prince of Peace and the light of lights." He is the Savior of the world. And then she closes with the prayer "that his love will blaze like a fierce candle in my soul, banishing every trace of darkness."
Yesterday was the First Sunday in Advent. As we move through the rest of the Advent Season, let us affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power. That acknowledgment provides a basis for holy living and reminds us that we are called to be faithful stewards of what is entrusted to us as God's people.
"Come Lord Jesus!"