30 November 2010

Advent Resolutions...

It started even earlier this year--the rush to the malls and big box stores, the rush to grab, to get, to buy.  Merchants couldn't wait for Black Friday profits and Americans could not manage to devote even one day to family and giving thanks.  [Although my family enjoyed a "Norman Rockwall" Thanksgiving at my cousin Natalie's lovely home.] 
In the world around us, the next few weeks will be driven by materialism, consumerism and overindulgence. "These are things the heathen run after... set your mind on God's kingdom and his righteousness." {Matthew 6:33}  Christians are called in all seasons to live lives that proclaim the-already-come-and-coming kingdom, to live each day in expectation of Christ's coming, to proclaim that Jesus came and Christ is coming. We are called be awake to what is truly important, to live worthy lives, and to walk as children of light even in a season of darkness.  We must keep Christmas without falling prey to the temptations which abound in the world during the holiday season.
 Some advent resolutions:
  • I will exercise the discipline of good stewardship.  I will give gifts without making debts.  I will remember that a gift is given; it is not exchanged.
  • I will focus less on myself and more on the redeeming work of Jesus and how I can continue that work in the world.  I will speak and do those things that point the way to the coming of Christ.
  • I will find time to remember stories of Christmases past, people who have blessed my life, people who have blessed the world.  One of the blessings of 60+ years is that there have been many Christmases and many blessings. 
  • Even in remembering, I will not dwell in the past but will seek wisdom and joy in the present.
  • I will be grateful for what I have rather than coveting what I don't.  I will say "Thank you." 
  • I will weep with those who weep.
  • I will share with others in the name of Jesus.  DMP & I love the Salvation Army bucket & bell.  We will give anonymous gifts to those who are in need who will not be able to thanks us and so will thank God.   
  • Worship, prayer, study, meditation will not be pushed from my life by the frantic rush, false deadlines, and intrusive noise of the world's celebration.
  • I will keep Christmas because the world and I need reminders that Jesus came and Christ is coming. We need encouragement to remember and to prepare for His coming. This season, with the natural world's shortening of light & increasing night and the fleshly world's temptations, is a season to seek spiritual renewal and to help other seekers find it.
Yes, I will keep Christmas while remembering that the point is not the rituals but the meaning they proclaim. If I am not awake to the meaning then I am in danger of turning precious rituals into just one more thing the pagans run after and joining in the chase.  I want to be wide-awake while I decorate an evergreen tree in red and gold to symbolize royalty, sacrifice, and eternal life.  When I arrrange my ceramic wise men, I want to be fully aware that "the wise still seek" and that the world's wisdom bows before that babe in a manger.  I want to light candles and shine light into darkness.  I will greet my friends, my family, and the whole wide world with peace and joy and love. 

Longer ago than I can imagine, the Prophets promised Messiah would come and Jesus came:  “In Him was life and that life was the light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness…”  and there is hope.

1 comment:

BrandyMcD said...

Beautiful Kay. I pray you will find peace and blessing in keeping your resolutions, which are so well thought out.