The weeks of the Advent season - beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas - are filled with activity and preparation. The house is decorated, gifts are purchased and wrapped, and plans are made to spend time with family and friends. In our work-a-day world there are parties and festivities, but still my heart doesn't truly celebrate during Advent. It is hopeful and expectant, anticipating the joy to come on Christmas Day, but it does not celebrate.
In an article for ChristianHistory.net Edwin and Jennifer Woodruff Tait write:
"Sometime in November, as things now stand, the "Christmas season" begins. The streets are hung with lights, the stores are decorated with red and green, and you can't turn on the radio without hearing songs about the spirit of the season and the glories of Santa Claus. The excitement builds to a climax on the morning of December 25, and then it stops, abruptly. Christmas is over, the New Year begins, and people go back to their normal lives."
Yes, the excitement stops abruptly - just when it should begin. The excitement stops when the gifts have been unwrapped. The focus remains on the gifts we've exchanged and those that Santa has brought, not on the Gift we've been given. In our culture it's a whirlwind of a day with wrapping paper flying. And then it's over, packed up and put away.
If your tree is still decorated, continue to enjoy it. If you have candles in the windows, light them for the world to see. Rejoice and celebrate! Give thanks for the greatest gift.
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
Christina Georgina Rossetti