I don't know about you, but I'm kinda tapped out from all the Christmas blog posts smacking us in the face. According to blogs I've read this week, I'm supposed to be participating in ornament exchanges. Or not. It depends on whether it contributes to building community or reinforces sin in my materialistic, greedy heart.
I did not know this.
We also find Santa and his impish sidekick in the verbal cross hairs of bloggers everywhere. "Their gig is up!" cry the diehards. At the very least they should be posed in the nativity, worshiping baby Jesus and bringing him toys and doughnuts.* Also, is it sacrilegious to have nondescript tree toppers? Am I spiritually mature enough to have a Jesse tree? In addition to deep, theological discussions on greed and Santa, there were roughly a bazillion "How To" posts flooding my blog feed. This week I've learned how to cultivate gratitude in the hearts of my children, fashion Christmas tree shaped cornrows, and perfect my sugar cookies. I've been told how to make godly elf on the shelf equivalents, simplify the season and even what not to do in preparation for Christmas.
And when December multiplies to 86 days I'll tackle the long list of crafty Christmas "How To" amazingness. Until then you'll find me three days behind on our advent activities.
Because I refuse to rush holiness. I will not impatiently tap my toes at the Prince of Peace, whose entirety was compressed into the delicate skin of a downy newborn. I refuse to shimmy my grocery cart alongside crowded aisles, huff my way through heavy traffic and distractedly count change without so much as a moment's glance into the souls milling about within arm's reach.
What we do not need this season is another ugly sweater party, cookie exchange or children's play. What we desperately need is space for The Sacred. Oddly enough, what we crave is both. After all, we voluntarily fill those thirty-one squares on the calendar with...stuff.** Everything and nothing. Busyness is a temporary high to dull our senses toward The Manger. I am guilty as charged.
Let this be the season we purpose to inhale the precious aroma of swaddling cloths and sacrifice. May our hearts be seared by The One born lowly and exalted on high. With souls of clay in the hands of Babe and King, may we recognize a light in each others' eyes. You've been there too. Let's raise a banner o're the unmarred and sacred space. We'll each grab a stack of invitations and take to the streets! There's always room for one more. One more frazzled mama battered with questions regarding mysterious packages from the mailman, one more delivery man working well past his son's bedtime, one more retail employee who despises their own dread of the holidays, one more pastor who fields more grief, sermons and party invitations this month than most, one more missionary fighting heartsick loneliness, one more school teacher who faces a classroom of hyper, spring-loaded children. One more...
Our presence does not detract from the hallowed. Rather, we are as glowing embers, that when huddled together become an unquenchable flame. A beacon. Peace that passes understanding is our party frock, love is our language and a surrendered heart is our currency. This is a Market that cannot fail. The welcome mat is out, and our Host insists the door remain ajar. This season, warm your spirit in the space for The Sacred.
And if December 25th's advent craft is completed by January 1st, consider it a success.
*Why don't we invite The Easter bunny, the tooth fairy and La Llorona just for cultural kicks. And while it's neither here nor there, for the record our family eschews the mythological trifecta.
**It's OK to decline some invitations and move a few parties to January. Really.