Like Em and Brad, my husband and I are in ministry in Montreal. She and I worked together until recently when they moved into church planting. Sometimes I feel a weird temptation to prove to the world that I'm less spiritual than they think. I suppose it comes from Christians, and people in general believing the lie that because I'm a missionary, I'm extra spiritual. No pressure or anything. Not that it's my desire to actually be nonspiritual, but it is surprisingly easy to talk about God all day and forget that you haven't spent time with him.
This is especially true for me in relation to Christmas. For me Christmas means sparkles, Starbucks peppermint lattes or Joy Tea Lattes with a pump of sugar-free Vanilla. It means Christmas music in coffee shops, the glow of Christmas lights that spread a warmth and a sense of comfort that I rarely find any other time of the year. Christmas also means trying to figure out schedules between families so we can see them all, which is getting increasingly difficult as me and my husband's siblings are also getting married off now, too. The Christmas season means tying off loose ends on campus before a new semester starts, it means prepping for our conference in Toronto the week after Christmas. So far Christmas also means being away from our home in Montreal, and not fellowshipping with our church here.
Notice there was no Jesus in there?
This year, I want to be filled with wonder as I anticipate Christmas. Honestly, I've never really participated in any advent devotional or anything. It never occurred to me that I might benefit from changing my devotionals during the advent season. As I've written on my own blog about changes I've made to my life to become more disciplined in the things that are important to me, during the advent season I want this to be one of them.
I want to not just enjoy the aesthetics of Christmas, but the building spiritual excitement of Jesus imminent arrival. When I think about the fact that God since the beginning of the world knew that He would send His Son, I can't help but wonder the kind of excitement and anticipation in His heart. In the two thousand years of history where God is sending prophets and leading His people, He's thinking Just you wait till you see what's next!
That's what I'll be thinking about as I spend time anticipating Christmas. But Jesus is alive and his followers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit is still not the best yet! One day we'll be living in the New City with the fullness of the presence of God, where the excitement of Starbucks Red Cups is no comparison. So, every morning for the month of December when I do my morning devotions, I'll be doing an advent-specific devotion. I've found some free ones online that you can check out if you're interested in doing it, too. One on YouVersion called Discovering the Christmas Season or another one I found that Kevin DeYoung had linked to on his blog and recommended (here). I'm excited to add another dimension to my Christmas preparations.
What about you? How do you try to keep Jesus the focus of Christmas?