It's still not quite the end of November but today is the first sunday in Advent. The four sundays leading up to Christmas are traditionally a time to pause from the rush of preparations and packagings and reflect on the true christmas story (if you need a refresher try this version).
Part of me is already resenting christmas, the pressure to spend money on presents, the haggling with families for eating arrangements, are wearing out my patience and good will! All set against the backdrop of scarcity, the fear of recession, the growing pressure to hold until what I have got rather than practising giving away what I have.
So this Christmas the story of God with us, is even more resounding for me. God, in Jesus, becoming like us to save us. Emptying himself. Giving away his rights. Holding nothing back in his embrace of humanity so that in him we can find true humanity.
It's a story I need to stop and reflect on, in my fear driven selfish headlong rush. In the frantic pace of my life I need to slow down and stop trying to work out how this year I can get more and give less. I need to remind myself thatGod's economy in his kingdom does not run on scarcity and fear but radical generousity and sacrificially giving away of the best. I need to find space to embrace the giving not getting nature of Christ and to learn again that the way of the cross begins in surrender of my whole self to Christ.
The 4 sundays of advent are something we chose to celebrate within our own faith community. However there are plenty of on-line resources as well to help us. Here are a few suggestions:
What does the season of advent mean for you?