“Christmas came early for me this year!” my wife showed me a Facebook post of one of her “friends” by that caption. There was a photo of the precious camera she had received from her husband. The posting was back in late October.
I share her elation of receiving an unexpected gift. And I think it’s a good thing that Christmas and gift go together. We need more of the experiencing of unmerited gifts. For us Christians Christmas is about God’s Simple Gift to humanity, the Christ child.
The virgin’s name was Mary. And [the angel Gabriel] came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. (Luke 1:27-28)
I want to stop and ponder too, in this season of Advent, the miracle of Emmanuel—God with Us. I want to know where and how my life can be more in tune with the heart of God. I want to repent and re-focus. I want to receive well this Simple Gift from God, live the embodied spirituality of Christ and become myself a simple gift to the world.
“Lord, in the frantic pace of the Advent season, I will focus on your presence—not the presents. I will choose the miracle over the materialism, both receiving it and then sharing it with others.” (Mike Slaughter, A Different Kind of Christmas, © 2012 by Abingdon Press, p. 16)
I wish you and your family truly blessed Advent and Christmas full of simplicity, serenity and joy. And I ask you to do what you can to ease the pain of loneliness of those who are separated from loved ones, and to be the source of comfort and strength to those who suffer the anguish of relationships, the insecurity of unemployment or the weariness of ill health. We can offer sacredness and grace as a community of companions in Christ.