While my American friends are celebrating Thanksgiving today, I have been home sick from work with some kind of flu bug (No, I do NOT have H1N1). Feeling a bit better and unable to sleep anymore, I decided to lose myself in the pages of someone else’s life for a while. I grabbed a book off my nightstand that had been sitting there since last Christmas and decided to give it a try. I have become more of a non-fiction reader than a devourer of fiction, and I had put this one off so long that it was actually in season again. The book is called “A Christmas to Remember” and was co-written by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer (Published by Berkely Publishing Group, 2006). It was a simple story, easy to follow, which was perfect on a day when my brain felt foggy to begin with. However, I was reminded, while reading, that inspiration can come in the most unlikely of places. In several scenes the characters attend a church service and we are privy to hearing the sermon right along with the characters. One in particular caught my attention, as it was about tempering the busyness that preparing for Christmas can cause, with the real meaning for the holiday.
“But what are we preparing for? It’s easy to get confused about it. It’s easy to lose the real meaning of the season when we get so caught up in all the shopping and cooking and gift wrapping. It starts to seem so much like work and rather joyless, doesn’t it?
He compares preparing for Christmas with preparing the home , and heart, for the arrival of a new baby. There’s a lot of work to be done – shopping and cleaning and decorating, but the focus is different.
“ A sense of creating a peaceful, pure space for the new life to thrive. A safe, warm, loving place. Not just in our home, but in our hearts.“
And there is anticipation and excitement too:
“A deep excitement about this new life coming into our world, this new person. So many possibilities. A sense of joy and wonder and hope. We are open and accepting. We are forgiving and thankful. (all quotes from page 170)
I don’t know about you, but even though I have never had the privilege of preparing for a baby in my house, this is the way I would like to approach the holidays. With hope. With purpose. With the anticipation and excitement of preparing my home and heart for celebrating the birth of one very special baby. Because no matter what the department stores tell us, or the TV commercials might want us to believe, or the Santa Clauses in the mall may represent, there is no Christmas without Him, as He is the only reason we have Christmas at all.
In Dr. Suess’ ”The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” Christmas arrived without the toys, without the trees and garlands, without the feasts and roast beasts. It arrived to a town that woke up with voices raised in singing, hands that held a neighbours, despite being robbed of every bauble and trinket and decoration so carefully laid out and prepared. I think we can learn a lot from the Whos in Whoville. As I prepare for Christmas this year I want to have that same sense of wonder and meaning that the first Christmas held over 2000 years ago. I want to look up at a shining star, and know that my world has changed.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, NIV)
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