October Newsletter Article
October 1, 2015, 12:00 AM

Well, it’s October and there is that crispness in the air (which seems to be a lot less ‘crisp’ than what I’ve been used to the past few years…), the colors are beginning to think about changing, fall sports are in full swing, and the Christmas decorations at our local stores are out on the shelves.

You know, I always (and still do at times) used to get pretty unnerved when I saw those Christmas decorations months and months before the blessed arrival of our Lord Jesus – the in-breaking of God made flesh into the world.

I didn’t appreciate the fact that it was another constant reminder that I have stuff to do before Christmas arrives. Services to prepare for, meetings to attend, presents to buy, schedules to coordinate. It begins to weigh on you more and more when you realize how much ‘stuff’ that you have to do before that time of the year arrives.

The more it weighs on you, the less you look forward to that time of celebration. Before you know it, as you continue to look forward to Jesus’ birth less and less (because we are confronted with the commercialization of this festival day more and more), the more ‘grinch and scrooge-like’ we might become.

So, I wonder (it could be as I wander…) what it would like – how we would act – if when we saw the encroachment of this day in the stores we frequent we began to see it as another opportunity to be in expectant hope? Where we see those colors, we see those phrases of holiday cheer, we see those reminders of a new winter and think, “Yes, Jesus is coming.”

Because Jesus is coming, Emmanuel is coming to dwell with us. We are soon to celebrate – again and again – that the fabric of our lives is about to ripped open and God will dwell with us. That God’s love for us goes so far and deep that God comes to live among us, to experience life with us, to walk with us each day.

Of course, that is a lot easier said than done. There will still be times that I’ll still sigh heavily when I see Christmas decorations out even before Halloween or Thanksgiving even crest on the calendar. But, as I see those numerous and prolific decorations adorning store shelves, I’ll more than likely see two words that stand out over the rest – Joy and Hope.

We rest our joy in the expectant hope to come. Sometimes that joy can’t be contained and it spills over into times and months that we wouldn’t expect. Sometimes we experience God in places and times we don’t expect. Always there calling out to us to focus on what this day means – even if it’s a reminder 2+ months in advance!

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