Today as we PREPARE for the start of our journey through advent I feel it is important to remind myself why we do this every year.
Now I’m not daft by any means. I, like most people my age am aware of the story of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem on a donkey (we all sang ‘little donkey’ at primary school!!) and the whole story of Jesus being born and placed in a manger, being worshipped and praised by angels and shepherds alike. And again I am certainly no stranger to the whole Christmas festivities, the idea of going to Church as a Vicar’s daughter is certainly no biggie to me. But each year I am fascinated by the vast amount of people who celebrate this incredible part of my faith, with no real clue why it is so important to me.
Now if you asked people on the street, or in a busy shopping centre what Christmas is about for them I’m sure you’d get many of the following:
- “I’m celebrating being home with my family.”
- “I’m celebrating the fact that I got a good Christmas bonus this year.”
- “No school..!!”
- “Christmas films shown everyday on tv.”
- “An excuse to meet up with friends and exchange gifts”
- “A time to be happy and spread joy.”
As a Christian I find nothing offensive about non-Christians celebrating Christmas. Surprisingly a couple of my friends have asked me this recently. For me Christmas is a time of peace, a time to relax and to focus on joy and happiness. Christmas in my house is when the family all try and meet up together, when we exchange presents and just spend time with eachother, eating and talking and having fun. This routine is probably pretty typical of many families around the world, whether Christian or not.
But for me, what makes me truly smile, is that a Christian festival that for me reminds me of God and his ultimate gift and show of love to us, is shared by so many. So maybe they don’t have a nativity set up. Maybe they don’t go to Church. Maybe they don’t pray around the dinner table, thanking God. But they do share love and joy and happiness with others. And that is what Jesus came to teach us about. Sharing the love, helping those in need, being a good friend and neighbour. So yes many may not be remembering Jesus, but I see him in all the festivities, whether other people see it or not.
So as I embark on this journey through advent, preparing for the biggest birthday bash of the year, I am reminded to just look around me and see Jesus.