Let me get out all of the cliche statements I’ve said and I hear throughout this time:
“Are you ready for Christmas?”
“It doesn’t even feel like Christmas”
“You can’t take say Christmas without saying ‘Christ’”
“Will you be around for the holidays?”
“It’s not ‘Happy Holidays’, it’s ‘Merry Christmas’”
“Christmas is about family and being together”
And lastly, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”
Depending on your religious background OR family upbringing, you’ve probably said or heard one of these statements. This is not a rant about any of the statements or a rant about a rant.
Some of my favorite Christmas moments are filled with memories of running around a family members house singing,
“Ahora es Navidad, Ahora es Navidad, Oh, Oh, O-O-O-OH, Ahora es Navidad”.
You’ve never heard this song because we made it up. It had a pre-verse to it.
“Mañana es Navidad, Mañana es Mañana, Oh, Oh, O-O-O-OH, Mañana es Navidad”.
We made it up. We weren’t rich by any financial means. But we had family.
I also grew up going to church and the Sunday before Christmas was a huge deal. There were Christmas songs, a Christmas drama, and a message about how Baby Jesus was born to save the world. I was immersed in religious language. There’s the angels making the announcement. The three wise men traveling on camel to honor this baby King. And Mary. The Virgin Birth. And many other miracles around this time.
Gift buying and giving really do get in the way for me. I don’t like it. I don’t disagree with it because who doesn’t like to get gifts or give one and see someone appreciate it. That’s why I’m grateful for the Amazon.com people making that part of my life a little easier. A few clicks and I’m done with my Christmas shopping. Lame you might say? It’s all good. I’m okay with it.
This Christmas Eve, I’m doing something I’ve never done before. It involves a dinner, my home, my family, and some friends. Sounds like any other Christmas? Not for me. There’s a different element to it this year. Something I’ve never done before. And because of it, I feel like I understand the religious Christmas stories a little more. I wanna tell you but I feel a need to guard this hidden treasure. It’s not a huge thing. But it is for me.
In my Christian tradition, the prelude to Christmas is Adventus (the coming). During this 4 week prelude, we reflect themes such as hope, light, joy, and love. The other day, one of my professors mentioned the theme of preparation. We use Advent to prepare for the coming King. We prepare ourselves by examining our life and seeing where or how we are experiencing joy, love, light, or hope. Where can we experience more of these themes? How can I be a conduit of these movements? Do I even care to do so?
So, are we ready-prepared for Christmas? I pray that we all are.
I pray for all of us who are filled with joy this season. That we might give that joy away to others.
I pray for all of us who are filled with sadness and loss this season. That we might experience the touch of the Divine reaching out to us, inviting us to experience connection, community, and worth.
Lastly, I pray for all my friends and community members who have a hard time during this season. You may have lost someone significantly and feel alone. You may have an estranged relationship with a mother, a son, a sister. You may have recently received bad news and are still in shock over it. My friend, you are not alone and I pray that you’d be filled with peace and comfort. Look out for how the Divine might be reaching out to you. Maybe it’s through a neighbor, a co-worker, or a commercial. You are deeply loved and are part of my family.