Thanksgiving vs. Christmas
this year, for the first time in ever, Christmas has infiltrated my Thanksgiving fortress.
all the kids have Thanksgiving week off and we have a road trip planned. This road trip has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, or Christmas for that matter, it’s just that it coincided time off for everyone and resources available to travel. we’ve been planning and anticipating for ages, focusing in on the states and sights and mapping our course. to say we are all excited is quite the under-statement and it’s just now sinking in that we are also in the midst of the holiday season.
because of being gone for these last two Sunday’s in November, i had to begin the Advent study i’m leading early to fit all the lessons in. and a few of the sights we’ve picked for our trip will be all decked out for Christmas.
in the middle of the night, with study and trip prep swirling around inside my head, something occurred to me. as i pondered the advent lessons and anticipated the Christmasy sights headed our way, i was reminded of my stubborn battle cry of; “no things Christmas until after Thanksgiving….by golly we will be thankful thankful thankful!!” and i became doubly aware that this resistance has little to do with Christ, and everything to do with culture. in my fight against culture, i’ve inadvertently bought into the lie of what Christmas is actually about.
i know what Christmas is about. we decorate with nativity sets and have a Bible under our tree instead of presents. We bring Christ into it in every way possible.
do you see the subtle lie woven into what i just said? We bring Christ into it? is not the whole of Christmas Christ bringing Himself to us? (que the music; and the soul felt it’s worth)
as i’ve begun early to meditate on Christ’s coming, as i’ve prepped for our trip and a Thanksgiving week different than it’s ever been, i’ve realized that in my fight to keep Christ in Christmas and Thankfulness in Thanksgiving, i’ve unknowingly declared that the world has triumphed and the battle is mine to wage. this year, the Spirit who speaks to the churches has been infiltrating my heart in a whole new way-as He does year by year, month by month, day by day, hour by hour. it’s a re-setting of worship, and it looks a little like pondering the Christ-child early; a little like being awe-struck and immensely thankful for the babe in a manger, a Lamb come to save His people from their sins. a little like breaking through my stubborn resolve and allowing the fluidness of the Spirit to be my guide instead.
….regardless of what the calendar says.
on paris and suffering
these days haven’t been completely consumed with prepping for our trip and the stuff of life. i’ve seen the news headlines and read the reports. we as a family also watch and pray for the persecuted and my heart has held a vigil for those in N. Korea for years. we’ve people near and dear suffering just down the road and our prayers for healing continue to be prayed without seeing any visible results.
i’ve no profound words today to offer that would do anything for all the questions. but there are those who do and i wanted to point to them:
Seth Haines book Coming Clean just released last month. it’s a book about pain and faith and offers such nourishment and companionship to anyone else who has experienced suffering and the questions that come. (which, unless i’m missing something, would include all of humanity.)
Emily Freemon offers us a Prayer for those who are grieving.
and a couple of years on the tail end of a fire that was on the tail end of a different fire there was a flood-and i penned some words about it-taking comfort from this song by Christa Wells that she is now offering for free: This Thing is Not Going to Break You
both the art of these fine artists and the Spirit’s movement in my heart lift my eyes away from the calendar and the newscasts pointing them instead towards the One who was and is and is to come.
thus, worship is restored.
to draw further in: Revelation 4 and 5, Romans 8, Matthew 1, Luke 1-2