(“Letters to My Church” devotional series. More information in the Table of Contents.)
It’s December 2, and there is nary a Christmas decoration in my house. While our neighbour has had a massive light display in their yard for the past two weeks, our door is still graced by harvest pumpkins, and Christmas decorations languish in boxes buried under boxes in the garage.
According to our neighbourhood culture, we are behind in our decorating. According to commercial culture in stores and malls, we are far, far behind
But are we?
Actually, traditionally the Christmas season begins December 25 and lasts until Jan 5 (hence the “12 days of Christmas”). This is a season of celebration, gift-giving, and feasting.
However, currently we are in the traditional season of Advent, which is quite different from Christmas. Advent is the beginning of the traditional church calendar, and it is a season of preparation (much like the season of Lent prepares us to celebrate Easter). Whereas Christmas is a time of celebration and feasting, Advent generally focuses on solemnity and fasting.
Although I don’t rigorously follow the traditional church calendar as part of my daily life, I do think it offers us some counter-cultural moments to shine as lights, and it can certainly help us keep our hearts in the right place as we move toward Christmas.
So in all the Christmas parties to which you will be heading this month, all the shopping, cooking, eating, giving, receiving in which you will partake, remember that you are in a season of preparation.
Prepare yourself. Our Lord is coming.