Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

From the Pastor; An Address to the Community of Christ United Methodist Church, Chestertown, MD and to Our Neighbors

NIV2010 John 1:4 “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

As I type these words, the start of the “holiday season” is almost upon us. It begins with Thanksgiving and then… well, most of you have been through it once or twice and you know the drill.

Everyone is getting ready for Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking and cleaning, writing cards and invitations. There’s a lot of pressure this time of the year for things to be “perfect”; we search for the perfect gift, we make sure that the house is ready for visitors, we fuss, we hustle and bustle to make sure that elusive “perfection” is captured, stabilized and anchored in the spot we want it to be.

That pressure of perfection is exhausting and if we are not careful it is easy to lose sight of the real reason for our activity: the Word made flesh coming to dwell among us (John 1:1-5). The hustle and bustle of preparation around us extinguishes the light of God within us.

The holiday season (in USAmerica it starts around Thanksgiving and ends with the day of the Epiphany – January 6) is a season set aside by the Church to remember Jesus’ first coming (First Advent) and prepare ourselves for Jesus’ final return sometime in the future (Second or Final Advent). It is the period of time when we await the coming of Christ on all the levels in which we experience time:

  • in the past — as a baby born in a stable in Bethlehem;

  • in the present — as the renewing, gracious and guiding presence in our souls as well as a sustaining energy all around us; and

  • in the future — as the Judge at the end of time.

This year I want to challenge all of us (myself included) to trade the hustle and bustle, trumped-up habits, personal traditions and expectations of others for a little more peace in your heart and in your home. Let the recognition that God came to dwell among us fill every nook and cranny of your soul. May the Light of God that John talked about shine all around you this Christmas season.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, let us covenant to keep Advent a season of waiting and longing, of personal conversion and hope, meditating often on the incredible love and humility of God taking our form and coming to live among us. In our shopping and baking, let us remember to purchase and prepare something for the poor. When we clean our homes, let us distribute some of our possessions to those who lack many necessities. While we deck the halls of our homes, let us not forget to prepare a peaceful place in our hearts where Jesus is welcome to come and to dwell.

Calvin Coolidge said that “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.” He continued, “To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

May you be the personification of the Spirit of Christmas.

God Bless!

Asher

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