Wednesday, December 24, 2008

From Advent to Christmas.

You aren't getting a Christmas card from me. That's probably understood by anyone who knows me. I don't send them. It's not that I don't want to. Every year I buy some and write out long messages to the to the first couple of people to pop into my mind. Then I put the stack away, sometimes not even sending those initial cards. I have every intention of finishing the whole list methodically, but I never do. I love getting cards and Christmas messages. It's unfair, I know, to revel in other's good wishes without sending my own.

I had to avoid my kitchen table this morning. There's a pile of cards sitting there. Unwritten. Unsent. This year I've noticed many people sending e-cards. I may do that too, though they'll probably be Epiphany cards, or valentine's day cards.

It's the morning of Christmas Eve. The time is ripe to feel guilty about all that never got done. I was wrapping the final presents this morning and looked at my schedule today to see if I can sneak in one more run to Target to get one more thing. Laundry is drying - ready to be packed for the post-Christmas family vacation. I finished decorating my tree. Yes, this morning. This isn't so crazy, except that I'm going away tomorrow right after church. Four worship services between now and then means I'll only be home for a few hours to even enjoy the tree. It's time to acknowledge that there's nothing more I can do to get ready for this Christmas.

It's upon us, and it's time now to turn to worship and put all the preparation aside. That's good news, because the preparation would never be done. All the time in the world wouldn't make me perfectly ready. It's time. Now. Advent is over. Christmas is here.

I got to work this morning and found this in my in-box. It's part of an e-card from an old friend. It's listed as anonymous. If the author is out there, my apologies. A perfect way to transition from Advent into Christmas. Thanks Kristen...Merry Christmas all.

A Christmas Version of 1 Corinthians 13 - anonymous
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen baking dozens of Christmas cookies,preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchens, carol in the nursing homes, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the tree with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes,attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens. Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust,
But...
Giving the gift of love will endure.
-- Author Unknown

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