It's happening. Christmas is a mere five days away and I'm officially feeling the pressure. There are presents to wrap, gifts that still need to be bought, cookies to be baked..... I know you get the picture. And I know there's a good chance you're feeling it, too. This season is wrought with to-do lists and expectations and I keep having this nagging feeling that there's someone or something I'm forgetting.
Unfortunately I get the sense that this feeling is encouraged during this time of year. The more stressed we are and the more pressure we feel, the more stuff we will buy. The more concerned we are about forgetting someone on our list the more likely we are to buy silly knickknacks, "just in case." The commercials on TV all show frantic, frenzied shoppers rushing to get everything in perfect order for the big day. It's almost as if they're saying, "if you're stressed out then you're doing something right!" And for what? So that we can have one day of peace following a month of chaos?
As I read our advent devotional today I was reminded of what a quiet and unadorned event the birth of Christ was. There were no commercial announcements, no sales in his honor; to be honest, had it happened today I probably would have missed it. I would have been too caught up in the glitter of the season to notice the baby in the manger. Oscar Uzin said in a sermon,
"Be alert, be alert so that you will be able to recognize the Lord in your husband, your wife, your parents, your children, your friends, your teachers, but also in all that you read in the daily papers. The Lord is coming, always coming. Be alert to his coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord."
My prayer today is that I will not simply remember to get gifts for everyone on my list, but that I will have the eyes to see Christ in everyone around me. My prayer is that I will have ears to hear the voice of God that doesn't shout, but rather whispers. My prayer is that I will be alert to his coming.