You’ve seen those announcements bent on annoying or amusing you… 300 days until Christmas, or only 51 more weeks…
There is no other celebration I know with so much buildup, anticipation, and expectation.
It IS a joyous time where we focus on family and love for one another. Where Christians celebrate faith and the gift of God with us, Emmanuel.
It is also a very difficult time for many whose sadness over grief, life’s circumstances, disconnectedness all seem to magnify. I’ve heard this week already of two who took their lives and although I didn’t know them, their pain is a tragic reminder of the despair some are experiencing.
I want to say, if you are in that category, please reach out for help. Know you are loved. We want to hear your story, to understand your pain.
As much as I love Advent, the preparation of the heart, I also get caught in the preparations, and probably put extra pressure and demands on myself. There is a relief when it is over and I can just relax in the moment, whether that is in sharing meaningful times with family and friends, or just quietly reading a book. Ah, there is the sigh, a contented one.
Because Christmas comes . . . and goes, whether you are ready or not.  For some it has been a week of survival and relief that it is over.  For others sweet memories will linger.  It could be both.  And you hear the inevitable question, “How was your Christmas?” and for some it is an easy answer, for others a question they will avoid.
Certainly I’m not against celebrating, festivals were part of the scripture we read and part of many cultures. Celebrations break up the monotony of life, bring people together. The sad reality in our generation is that most holidays or holy days have been over-commercialized. We’ve lost the purpose of the celebration all together.
So while the hoopla is over, with the good and wonderful, with the stress and busyness, I’m reminded that we are (according to the church calendar) IN the twelve days of Christmas.
Days I want to remind myself to keep focusing on the true gifts, of hope eternal, peace within, choosing joy, and living in love. Gifts for all year long.

Gifts of Christmas

The Candle of Christmas, the Christ candle is lit as we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas.

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