What is your favorite experience you have ever had with Advent or Christmas? This question is how we started the Experiencing Christmas Bible Study (see more about this in the November issue of The Bridge). And we got some really interesting answers. One of my favorite experiences during Advent is when we announced that I was pregnant with Skyler. Blaklee had turned 4 just about a week previously. And she was the one who told the world, in her pajamas, grinning from ear to ear, as she held my ultrasound pictures in front of the Christmas tree. Another memory of an experience I had during Advent is my memories of the Christmas tree the church I grew up in would put up each Advent. It was simple – just evergreen with white lights … no Chrismons (yet). But it had to be the biggest Christmas tree I had ever seen. I wrote about it when I was a senior in high school, when I was asked to provide a devotion for the church’s advent devotional guide. I wrote about the wonder in a child’s eyes when they see the tree for the first time and the wonder of Christmas.
This year, we are Experiencing Christmas together. Each week during Advent, we will look at the sights, sounds, touches, and tastes of Advent and Christmas and how using our senses allows us to experience Christmas more fully as we welcome God-with-us to Earth once again. As we go through Advent this year, I invite you to look, listen, touch and taste. Use all your senses to see and experience Christ in your midst.
With all that said, Christmas will look a little different this year. And we need to acknowledge the grief that we feel, knowing that we will not be worshipping in the sanctuary on Christmas Eve. But the amazing thing is that the church is not a building. The church isn’t the sanctuary. It is us gathered together in worship. So, as we light candles and sing “Silent Night” this year, let us remember that the most important gift for humanity was given to us at Christmas. And the baby Jesus still comes, no matter where we are.
I want to encourage all of you to participate in all the many opportunities we have to learn and worship (and have fun) this Advent and Christmas season. It is going to be a wonderful time.
Peace and Love,