Hey all, hope your Christmas season has been joyful! Ours certainly has. Of course we've had to juggle extra activities like school performances and shopping. There has been extra traffic and longer lines. We continue wrestling with keeping the right balance between generosity and stinginess. We keep checking our motives - are we giving because we want to keep things even? Are we buying this present because we feel we have to? It's really easy to get sucked into the Christmas-shopping vortex and lose sight of the 'why'. This year our church has been doing a series of lessons on the Advent, the first for me, at least in a long time. It has been a really good reminder, not in some cheesy 'Jesus is the Reason for the Season'-way, but in a thoroughly deep way. We can argue about why we put up a tree, and whether putting up a nativity scene is a form of idolatry. We can study the history of why December 25th was chosen and argue about how much Christmas is appropriate to celebrate. What's important though, is to see the connection between the manger and the cross and how they both must be seen in light of the empty tomb and the purpose for which the Father send his Son.
In the past, I've gauged my success in this in terms of simply remembering the nativity, of Jesus' birth and life. But this year it really served as a reminder to be grateful for the 'why' - for God's grace and forgiveness and to let that gratefulness then turn into letting that forgiveness flow unto those around me.
OK - so plans.
December 24th - Our American friend Emily is spending the night with us and just being a member of our family. Our church is hosting a Midnight gathering where we will read the Nativity story, sing together and light the fifth advent candle.
December 25th - Open presents and lunch at the Rotert home. Final packing and preparing for trip to Germany.
December 26th - Leave at 7:00 am for Munich, and the next day on to Colditz. Check out www.midwinterrally07.com for a peek at what we will be doing there.
From our family, have a very Merry Christmas!