What does Christmas mean to you?

What does Christmas mean to you?

On this first Sunday of Advent, I would like to ask the question “What does Christmas mean to you?”

The same question was asked of various shoppers. You can see their answers for yourself in this short video:

This weekend is the start of advent when all around the world children eagerly open advent calendar windows day by day as they mark off the days to Christmas Day.

I want us maybe to view Advent in a different way too.

A is for anticipation. Maybe it is anticipating the stresses and strains of burning the turkey, experiencing a power cut or being so excited that you can’t sleep on Christmas Eve in the hope that you will receive that long-anticipated gift. God was also anticipating the right time to give the gift of HIs Son, Jesus Christ, to the people He cared so much about.

D is for decisions  Christmas decisions range from who to buy for and how much to spend to what to cook for Christmas dinner. The people in the original nativity also had decisions to make: Mary’s decision revolved around whether she was actually willing to the task of being mum to the world’s Saviour. Joseph had to make the decision to go against the cultural expectations of the day. The shepherds’ decision revolved around the risk or rewards of leaving sheep unattended to go see Jesus. Even today it is our decision whether we want to be part of God’s story or not. He would prefer us to be but He leaves it up to us to decide.

V is for visitors. I don’t know whether you prefer to go visiting or to have visitors at this time of year? What I love about the Christmas story is that God included people of all nationalities and economic backgrounds in His story. The Jesus I worship is open and available to all.

E is for expectations. After the build-up to Christmas, the day itself may be something of a letdown, not living up to expectations. We are all familiar with the phrase, “just what I always wanted” meaning quite the opposite. This Advent God has the expectation that the gift of HIs Son Jesus will cause people to pause and reflect on their priorities in life. How, with God in my life, might it be better in the coming year?

N is for news. Most of it is not good. The good news given to the shepherds was that Jesus would bring peace and hope to humanity; maybe not immediately but one day pain, suffering, sickness, wars, natural disasters and death would be a thing of the past.

T is for thanks. Take time in this busy season to look back over the last year and give thank for what you do have rather than what you don’t. A thankful, positive outlook can give you many benefits.

Thank God that He loved the world so much that He gave His Son.

Happy Advent – Happy Christmas.


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