A few days ago we experienced a surprise “snow storm” in New Braunfels. Snow covered trees and buildings transformed Slumber Falls into a winter wonderland. For those that have only experienced the camp the summer months, this was a welcomed change. It feels like Christmas is here.
The feeling of Christmas is more than the snow. There seems to be an excitement around the holidays as people shop for special gifts for their loved ones, attend Christmas plays and parties, and participate in Advent rituals. Snowfall brought out wonderment and smiles on peoples faces. As I think on the ephemeral nature of snow, I cannot help but make the same observation for the Christmas Spirit which seems to be embodied only for a short period of time.
I am sure that there are a plethora of reasons why this Christmas Spirit does not endure.Perhaps it is the need to get back to work to pay off Christmas expenditures, or the fact that people are returning from vacations that they might have lost if they did not use it in the calendar year, or the cultural rhythm that no longer requires us to be in that Christmas mode. Whatever the reason, Christians should reflect why this time is sacred to them and how they engage this season as a time for revelations, growth and transformation.
Celebrating the Advent season and remembering a time before Jesus, illustrates the hope and anticipation of a people in active relationship with God. The Christmas season rejoices and remembers a time where humanity experienced God in a very unique and personal way. This is exciting! This is powerful! The coming of the Christ child continues to have world changing effects on our lives, our communities and our global neighbors. So what about the birth are we so excited about? Does the ministry of Jesus inspire us? Is the message of spiritual relationship to the Divine compelling? Are we called to seek deeper interpersonal relationships with our neighbors? Is the message of justice and building God’s kingdom on Earth in fruition enough to get us excited every day? For some, it is many of these plus a myriad of reasons not mentioned here.
Does this season call us into deeper, spiritual understandings of the implications for celebrating Advent and Christmas? Is this still a time where we embody something deeper and more meaningful? If so, how do we safeguard this time from becoming as ephemeral as melting snow?If not, what should we do or how should we be to be more intentional about nurturing our relationship with God?
I hope during these seasons of anticipation and celebration that you connect to the story in new and profound ways so that you are inspired and invigorated to deepen your faith and calling to the church and the world. I pray that the Christmas Spirit dwells deeply within you and calls you to champion the gospel message into the years ahead. Peace, Joy, and Love to you!