There is a cultural standard for what Christmas “should” be. However, it is an illusion.
Preparing for the birth of Jesus, we too often buy into the illusion. I mean, how can we not? It surrounds us, saturating our world with priorities designed to fatten the bottom line of big box stores and shopping websites. We are cajoled into creating “the perfect Christmas,” and you are in luck, because it just so happens to be on sale today!
But what if this year we set a different standard? What if the standard for Christmas was grace? How would that look? What would that feel like? What would change?
Maybe we ought to stop preparing ourselves for Christmas according to what Pinterest tells us it should look like, and start preparing ourselves for Christmas according to the words of the prophets and the compelling “Prepare the way of the Lord!” we hear from the wilderness.
This year’s Advent worship series at Campbell UMC is titled “Beyond Expectations: A Season of Grace.” I am hopeful that the intense, taxing expectations we often feel at this time of year will be lessened as we focus our hearts and minds on “the dawn of redeeming grace” that should relieve our stress, rather than increase it.