I love Christmastime. When I was young, I couldn’t wait for Christmas Day. I looked longingly at the wrapped boxes I hoped were the Evel Knievel chopper and scramble van (or, in my sister’s case, the freakishly realistic doll known as “Baby Alive,” to whom you could feed a gelatinous baby-food-looking muck which, through an interior motor, would eventually end up in the baby’s diaper, and which may have then been re-fed to the baby by a malicious older brother, much to said sister’s horror). Visions of Christmas morning gratification racing through my mind, I longed for December to fly by, coming to what I hoped was an absolute crawl on Christmas Day. It always seemed to work the exact opposite, though- crawling December, speeding Christmas.
Now, as I’ve aged, all life is a blur. It all speeds by. However, I’ve also begun to notice the beauty of the seasons, including the Church calendar. I love how God has orchestrated Thanksgiving, a holiday designed to cultivate gratefulness in my heart, to flow directly into Advent. Just as I’m counting my blessings, I have the opportunity to prepare my soul to contemplate the most earth-shaking event in human history: the visitation of our planet by the ruler of the universe, creator and minute-by-minute sustainer of every galaxy. And, coming as a helpless baby, no less! It would boggle our minds, if familiarity had not bred contempt.
Which is why Advent exists: for us to bypass the clean, pastoral, sterilized commercial manger scene fixed in our minds, and to reimagine the scandalous, shocking, extravagant humility of the Son of God, who Old Testament characters could not look upon without being instantly vaporized, born into squalor and wet diapers- touched, heard, smelled, beheld. In the fullness of life: fully man, yet fully God. Completely upside down.
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’m going to write a series of blogs, exploring Christmas and Advent from a variety of different perspectives. I really don’t know if they’ll be any good; some may be more helpful than others. But, my hope and prayer is that they will somehow serve you. Maybe you can discuss one or two of them with your family at breakfast or dinner. Maybe a couple of them will be an easy, non-threatening way to spark a spiritual discussion with that co-worker, friend, or family member God has put in your path and on your heart. Maybe they will just encourage you, putting a new spin on the old magic of the ancient tale.
In A Praying Life, Paul Miller says, “It’s okay to have a busy life. It’s crazy to have a busy soul.” Regardless of whether these words will be helpful to you at all, I pray that this Advent, as you prepare your home, your tree, and your table, you’ll also let your spirit rest in the soul-shattering Prince of Peace.