Do you ever get overwhelmed by Christmas? The shopping, the parties, the scheduling? A consummate procrastinator, I always get slammed by Christmas. Add to the regular Christmas "stuff" additional worship services to plan and put on? This pastor is one tired puppy come December 26th.
So, this year, I thought I'd get ahead of the game. All Advent and Christmas Eve worship services were planned before Thanksgiving; all the Christmas Day plans were made early; nearly all the Christmas gifts have been purchased; we'll even be sending out a Christmas letter this year instead of the usual "Epiphany Letter." My intention was-just this once-to save myself some harried hustle-bustle and enjoy the Christmas season.
But here's the thing-planning ahead hasn't helped. Despite the extra free time this year, I haven't enjoyed this Christmas season any more than any other. In fact, I've probably been even sadder this year. Stepping out of the Christmas hustle-bustle, I've been able to observe it, and that observation has filled me with questions: What does all this have to do with the incarnation? What do expensive cars with Christmas bows on them or multi-carat diamond rings ensconced in fake snow have to do with God-with-us? What do fancy parties and clothes have to do with God's gracious choice to "become flesh and dwell among us?"
I wish I knew.
O come, O come, Emmanuel. We need you now more than ever. Amen.