Recently I decided to start reading the Catholic church's recommended readings for the Advent (I only wish I had decided to do so a week earlier, becuase I would have been all over the wreath and candle action... haha). This is the first year I've ever done anything like it, but I have to admit I think it will be my new tradition. You see, most of the time the Church focuses on our sin and what we've done wrong to seperate ourselves from God and what we ought to do to fix it. Easter is a time where we focus on sacrafice, the ones we ought to be making in our own lives and the ultimate sacrafice of Christ on the cross. There is plenty of time for soul searching and flaw finding and fixing all through the year. Advent seems to be the one time the church pauses to rejoice that He came, and that we hold to the hope that he is coming back someday! And the truth is, when I think about how God sent his son to be with us in the flesh, and that while he was here he showed us first hand how to live and love with great simplicity, and that someday he will return and save our broken hearts and imperfect lives from all the things that happen to us along the way-- when I think about all that, how can I do anything but praise him?
But what does worship look like at Christmas? When I look at the birth of Jesus I don't see all the things I'm ussually worried about at Christmas. The wisemen simply brought gifts to Jesus, the humble king who was born in a manger and didn't have much. They weren't worried about perfecting their holiday cookie recipe or tie the perfect bow around the present they agnozied over for months before. I'm sure you've all seen the video below from advent conspiracy. I posted it because it poetically captures what i'm trying to communicate here. When I watch it I think of my dear friends Ben and Aaron and thier roommates. You see when Ben and Aaron were deciding where to live their junior year they didn't have the same criteria most college students have around Abilene (close to campus, has a dishwasher, cheap rent, can fit atrampoline in the yard ect.). Instead these boys intentionally chose to live in an impverished neighborhhod with tons of kids who didn't have many postive male role models. Through the semester they have practiced being good neighbors and really reached out to the community, and inspired a large group of students to do so as well. Well Christmas is coming, and they couldn't let the kids in their neighborhood go without. So they started texting all thier friends, who texted all of their friends, and together a bunch of broke college kids made sure that every child in thier neighborhood had a really sweet Christmas present to open on Christmas morning. The effort was perhaps the most powerful worship ACU experienced all semester. May you have a very Happy Christmas, full of all the love God intended and as little of that other stuff as possible.