Sunday, December 13, 2009
Something that has been bothering me lately as I have been celebrating Christmas is the fact that so many Christians seem to think that focusing on Christ's birth AND doing the old-fashioned holiday traditions are mutually exclusive. If I am enjoying baking and Christmas tunes and crafting and tree-hunting, then I am not focusing on the "Reason for the season". Christians seem to pendulum swing...giving in to enjoying the traditional ways of celebrating in America but then out of some strange sense of guilt that those things aren't "spiritual", they don their serious, sober faces and quickly retreat to read Luke 2.
This feels strange and disheartening to me.
Baking and merry-making and music and parties and gift-giving ARE my acts of celebrating His coming. All are simple acts of Advent worship. I do these things because of the Joy I have that He is here...Emmanuel! I don't need to segregate the "spiritual" from the so-called "secular". I am finding Jesus in those traditions...He can be seen in the symbols of the tree, the wreaths, the lights, the music, the gifts and the feasting. We don't need to drum up spiritual focus or spiritual feelings...just enjoy Him wherever He may found.
I smile big at the people in the aisles at Target. I offer encouragment to the check-out lady at the Publix. I wave at strangers who pass me on the road. My husband strikes up a conversation with the man who sells us the Christmas tree. My children find money on the ground and pass it on to the red Salvation Army bucket. We make decorations and cookies for our enjoyment and family heart-bonds are becoming stronger. We listen to Christmas tunes and laugh and the children say over and over "this is the most wonderful time of the year!" We drive by lights and ooohh and aaahhhh. We are celebrating Jesus and life at each and every turn.
The Sacred is found in the everyday moments of celebrating. We don't have to choose one or the other or constantly obsess as to whether we are doing the right thing spiritually this season. Enjoy Jesus. The God-man who was found enjoying weddings, dinners with friends, cooking on the beach, taking long walks, looking people in the eye, gathering children, meeting needs, calming storms, resting, praying, healing, telling stories, initiating with strangers. The Incarnate One lived and breathed and did life just as we do...a life not filled with religion but with the Bubbling-Over Life of the Spirit.
Here's to enjoying and celebrating the Life of Jesus in all things every day.
photo by romorga