The Pondering Pastor

These "Ponderings" originally appeared as articles in our church newsletter or bulletin or just as the musings of one bald pastor. I place them here to encourage you, my fellow blogite and maybe to help us all in our pondering.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A SEA OF GIFTS

WHEN MY TWO OLDEST WERE YOUNG, we had a Christmas where both sets of grandparents celebrated Christmas Day with our little family. I don’t remember many of the details of that Christmas time, except for one very vivid picture that is burned into my memory.

The scene was Christmas Eve. Trinity and Krista were snuggled in their beds with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. The grandparents had gone to their respective abodes for the evening, and Linda and I were ready to enjoy a few moments of quietness before the festivities of Christmas Day would begin. The problem was that Linda and I couldn’t get to each other because of all the gifts which filled, and I do mean filled, the living room floor. You see, the grandparents were determined to outdo each other when it came to gifts for their two granddaughters, and outdo themselves they did. I was saddened by the extravagance.

As I sat there amidst the sea, dare I say tidal wave, of gifts, staring upon the nativity set which was almost buried, I knew that something was desperately wrong with this scenario. This is not, and should not be, what Christmas is all about. Now, I realize that the grandparents meant well, but they were teaching something to my kids that I would rather not have them know. I didn’t want them to learn the false lesson that more is better. I wanted them to know that there is more to Christmas than tearing into the next gift, and waiting for more. Happily, seeing them now assures me that they did learn the correct lesson in spite of over zealous grandparents, and over zealous parents too, if I am to be completely honest. J

I guess the visions of the above Christmas event, which still haunt my memory, are one of the reasons why I seek to encourage the church to slow down at Christmas. Yes, there are places for Christmas cantatas and celebrative dinners, but there is also a profound need for us to stop.

To rest.

To listen carefully for the sound of peace.

We need to sit with Mary as the baby Jesus is nestled closely to her breast, and enjoy the soft, almost imperceptible breathing of the newborn Savior of the world. It is in the quietness that the deep abiding joy is experienced.

My Christmas prayer for you, and for our church, is that throughout this very special season of the year we will experience afresh and anew the peace of Him who is our Prince and our God.

Merry Christmas!