Praying… or Shopping?

What will this December be like?

Will December be a flurry of busyness- parties and family gatherings, spending ourselves into debt, stuffing ourselves senseless even as we count the pounds, stress and hurry?

Or will it be a time of restrained anticipation, a time to remember our need for God, a time to wait with the vulnerable in the world for God’s salvation, to long for God’s justice?

Will you be praying or shopping? I guess the answer, for most of us, honestly, is both.

As we begin what is for the world a season of consumption, we also enter Advent, a church season of restraint. I feel, in myself, a pull between those two, and I think it is good and healthy in our life together to name that pull out loud, and to explore it together.

It is good to gather in joy and love with family and friends. And yet busyness and rush that leave no time for prayer and anticipation aren’t so good. Giving gifts that show our love is a joyful thing- and yet how do we remember that our joy doesn’t come from stuff? And how do we celebrate with those beloved people God has put in our life, while remembering that we are called to love way beyond our circle of family and friends?

I’m thankful for Advent- a church reminder to slow down and remember what counts. I hope that the traditions of the church might help me in this busy season, and you too. Simple soup suppers on Wednesday, with time to think about prayer together, might balance our busy parties. Our worship texts, calling for justice, might help us think about what gifts might really add to the world’s joy. Pausing in the evening to light a home Advent wreath might give us time to long for God’s coming.

And letting God in, in all these little ways, might open us up even more to the wonder and joy of Christmas this year.

In hopeful longing,

Pastor Lura

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