The final week of the Advent series is going to be a little different than the previous three weeks. This week, we are turning our attention to the ones that mean the most to us, our loved ones.
Now that we have spent some time reflecting on how we can improve our daily lives, it is important to now reflect now how we are able to bless those that have made a positive impact on our lives. Just like the past weeks’ topics (lament, gratitude), I don’t often take the time to think or to thank, those individuals in my life that help to keep me going.
This year, I would like to change that.
People really are the fuel that keeps me going. I love interacting with people and getting to share experiences and stories with them. I have always been a pretty social person but as I get older, I now realize how fortunate I am to have such amazing support from my friends. I feel it is only fitting for the final week of Advent, the week that ends with the blessing of the birth of Jesus, for us to turn our attention to those who have blessed us most.
I have heard the Nativity story many times in my life, in many different forms. Most often, the story centers around the birth of Jesus and how miraculous the events were leading up to his birth. While I think it is very important to acknowledge that aspect of the story, I feel it leaves out a critical aspect of the reason behind the miraculous events. When you focus only on the events leading up to the birth, you tend to miss the actual birth event and what it signified for all of humanity. The coming of Jesus was meant to bring reconciliation within all of creation.
Jesus is a blessing for everyone to experience.
Over the past few years, Christmas has felt more like a battleground than a time of peace and joy. The Christmas season has been overcome with our earthly desires of “getting this” and “buying that.” Instead of hearing joy and peace from people getting ready for the holiday season, I seem to hear more negativity and angst than any other time of the year;
“This company changed their cups, they must hate Christmas!”
Happy Holidays? Ugh! How about Merry Christmas!
Make Christmas Great Again!
These quotes speak nothing of the gift of peace, born in the quiet of the night.
The blessing of God’s presence to the world can be replicated in our blessing those that have blessed us. This does not stop at reciprocity, in fact, it goes many steps beyond that. Matthew’s gospel affirms this idea when Jesus says to walk an extra mile with anyone who asks. It is assumed in this story, that you are also not to ask if it is only just one additional mile, it should be assumed that it can be as many miles as the person requires. This is what we mean when we talk about blessing others. We don’t make the terms, we just show up, sometimes miraculously, and give the gift of our presence, just like the baby Jesus, one magical night a long time ago.
As we close this series and begin the New Year, I hope that you have found a new way to cultivate peace and harmony in your own life. I have been richly blessed in creating this series and have personally grown from taking the time to slow down and reflect each week. I want to thank you for taking this 4-week journey with me. I wish you a safe and peaceful 2018.