Originally posted December 7, 2011, at ELCA Southeastern Synod Blog. Republished with permission of the author.
Every year after Thanksgiving, local newspapers and slick-paper magazines run articles telling us what to do in order to have a “perfect holiday season.”
Other than getting a few good recipes for candied yams and pecan pie, I have never really benefited from these articles.
They seem to envision most families as having both an unlimited budget and the opportunity to take the entire month of December as vacation.
Besides, most of what they recommend seems to have very little to do with the coming of Christ and everything to do with the spending of money.
So, I decided to have a go at it and make my own list of recommendations on how to have “a perfect holiday season.” Only the holiday is Advent, and the ideas have to do with the heart, not the pocketbook.
Take five minutes every morning and make a Christ’s Mass list. Not a list of things to buy, or things to do, or things you want, but a list of blessings in your life, a list of people you love and who love you in spite of yourself, a list of the signs of God’s presence in your life. After you’ve made your list, pray a prayer of thanks.
Take another 10 minutes and read a chapter or two of the Gospel of Mark. By Christmas morning, you will have been reminded of why Jesus came and of what he did for us. By Christmas morning, you will be ready to celebrate with thankfulness and praise the coming of the Messiah, Emmanuel, God with us.
Pick out five names from your Christmas card mailing list. Make it five people that you have almost lost touch with, five people whom you seldom see or speak with. Call them up or write them a personal letter or send them an email and tell them how much they mean to you and why. Thank them for being a sign of God’s presence and love in your life.
Perform a totally new act of charity this year. Reach out and surprise someone with the unexpected love of God. Give a part of yourself to someone in gratitude for the fact that Christ gave himself for you.
And finally, spend the last five minutes of every day asking God to come into your life in a fresh, new, unpredictable way this year.
Find a link to Delmer Chilton’s entry at ELCA Southeastern Synod Blog at Lutheran Blogs.