November 24, 2021
Each year as I begin planning for Advent, I long for a season of closer connection with Jesus. I desire to worship with the shepherds at the feed trough but end up tired and weary by the time Christmas Eve and Day finally arrives. Perhaps you have a similar experience. What can we do to make Advent a little more like the one we desire.
Vibrant Faith Director, Rick Lawrence, in his article A Jesus-Centered Holiday Primer writes this-:
Instead of summoning a greater effort, or greater discipline, what if we under-prepared instead? I mean, what if we simply invited Jesus into our holiday momentum, like a Trojan Horse invited inside the gates of our over-scheduled and over-stimulated season? Let’s take the pressure off and free ourselves to enjoy Jesus in the midst of our typical craziness.
By this Lawrence means instead of trying to carve out time for quiet reflection, bible reading or other ways of connecting with Jesus, we take away the “shoulds” that make us feel quilty. Instead we invite Jesus into the everyday fun and chaos of the Christmas season.
He gives the following example:
Play With Jesus—Instead of compartmentalizing our relationship with Jesus, let’s simply invite Him into the things we’re already doing. For example, let’s say we’re out shopping for Christmas gifts at a mall. Make it a playful connection to Jesus by asking Him to spotlight an inexpensive gift that He knows will delight someone in the mall. Buy that little trinket, then put it in a gift bag and write a note that says, “A little gift for you, from someone who appreciates you.” As you’re leaving the mall, walk through the Food Court, asking Jesus to give you the right opportunity to give your gift. Set it on a table when the occupants won’t notice, then walk away.
I am sure there are many other ways to invite Jesus into our traditions and business. One reason that I like the Jesse Tree devotional is that each day’s readings are short and offer wonder/reflection questions that we can think about during the day and evening.
As you move into this season, may you find many ways to play with and include Jesus in your preparations.