And so it begins…

The season of Advent begins on Sunday. The first of four Sundays of preparation for Christ’s arrival in Bethlehem will start with the classic hymn, O Come, O Come Emmanuel as we enter again into the official holiday season. And in many ways, it’s all downhill from there.

But as we enter into these four weeks, we must also remember what this season is truly about.

We’ve all seen the bumper stickers and the social media memes of “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas.” But how do we truly do that?

It’s not about how many times we say Merry Christmas. Nor is it about how much we talk about how much more important Christmas is than all the other holidays happening during these next six weeks. Nor anything else in that same line of thinking. All of these ideas all miss the point.

To keep Christ as the center of our celebration of Christmas means to remember that Christ is in the face of every other person we will meet. That means that how we treat them, how we care for them, how we welcome them, how we create magic for them – all of these are how we interact with the Christ-child.

Every year, about this time, I like to pull out Howard Thurmond’s classic poem, The Work of Christmas, because it helps to keep our focus on what this season is truly about:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.

Howard Thurmond

If you want to put Christ back into Christmas, that is how we do it.

And this weekend we will begin with gusto by dedicating thirty-eight toys plus clothing and stocking stuffers for over a dozen children in our community who otherwise would not have the Merry Christmas that our families will enjoy. That is something you have done. That is you bringing gifts to the Christ-child, make no mistake about it.

So come, come Emmanuel. And come all ye faithful – it is time to prepare our hearts for all that is to come!

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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