Advent Week 2: Peace
Colossians 3:16-17, NRSV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
- Christmas tree, trimmed and decorated
- Christmas décor outside
- Nativity’s placed carefully throughout the house
- Christmas plates, napkins, dishtowels, candles
- Cute Christmas clothing for the child
- A calendar that fills up with Christmas programs meals, office and school events
- Finding places to rest and soak in the season…
Christmas is so cluttered and December feels like a race. As I write these thoughts it is early November and I am already creating lists for the coming season. Despite the clutteredness, December is my favorite month. I love driving around and looking a lights. I love the music. I love the bell ringers at store entrances. I love spending time with family and friends. I love the food, smells, and sights. I love the spirit that is in the air. And I find myself wanting to capture the smells, feelings, emotions, and bottle them up for just a bit longer each year. Which begs the question, how do we keep the Christmas Spirit alive all year? I think this text provides us with a good guide.
First, Live Thankfully. Be grateful for the people, places, and things provided in your life. Be grateful for a God who loves us unconditionally. When we live lives of gratitude toward God, the natural response is a desire to give thanks. No matter how big or small, be thankful. When we are thankful it makes us want to give to others. To provide a meal, share a cup of coffee, listen to a friend, write an encouraging note, drop some change in the bell ringer’s jar, or give a warm hug.
Secondly, in order to keep the Christmas Spirit alive we should live in community. Much of Christmas is spent with other people as we worship with one another, attend family gatherings, and events. These experiences can be awkward, life-giving, fun, and meaningful. These experiences tie us together. And while they may clutter up your calendar, they are shared events that bind us together. Life is much better when it is lived together. So pay attention to who around you might need to be brought into your community. The Christmas Spirit is meant to be shared and lived together.
Prayer: God of today and tomorrow, thank you for your son who came to show us how to live and move and be. Thank you for giving us each other to share life with. Thank you for providing, for caring and walking alongside us. May we feel your presence with us this Advent season.
Action: December will come and go, and we will be left with January. How will you keep the Christmas Spirit alive?
Marnie Ingram is Coordinator of Youth Programming with Passport Camp Inc in Birmingham, AL.