Here it is – the Christmas season is once again upon us. And here I am again, desperately trying to figure out how NOT to get swept away by the busy-ness and materialism that are the hallmarks of this time of year.  I want to be able to take time and read and reflect on Christ and His advent, and I try, but sometimes other things not of my choosing (like grade school Christmas programs and such) take my focus. I want to be able to give of my time and my resources to those in need but either a) I don’t have any extra time or resources or b) I don’t even really know where what I can give is needed most. I know of a church (I am sure there are lots of them) who does an event each Christmas where they really are giving to people in their community who are in need. Giving LOTS of BIG stuff. Especially considering this church isn’t a mega-church. It wouldn’t even be considered a large church. And I want to be involved in stuff like that. (I am too far away to participate in that particular church’s efforts.) So this is where my head is these days – trying to figure out what I can do to help someone else this season. What  I can do to make Christmas more real to me, my family and others. And perhaps that’s why when I saw this video last week I was drawn to the song.

Two lines, “You have the power to give hope” and “What if December looked different this year?” Are the ones that keep rolling around in my head. How could I make December look different this year? What can we do differently? How can we offer hope to someone who is just waiting for it to be offered? And as if it is not enough for me to already be thinking these things, both my reading from Rediscovering the Christmas Season on and the reading from Today in a Manger: An Advent Devotional were asking some good questions right along those lines.

(From Rediscovering the Christmas Season)

The Gift

Exposure: Read these verses about giving. (Acts 20:35; 1 John 4:10) Go Christmas shopping for someone that is not a part of your immediate family like a patient in a nursing home or hospital, your mail carrier, your garbage collector, or a foster child.

Exploration: What is the real point of giving a gift? How is Jesus the best gift you have ever received?

Expression: How generous are you with your time, treasures, and talents? Do you live as if it truly is more blessed to give than receive? How can you live this out more fully this Christmas season?

Experience: Discuss with friends or family or journal about a time when you blessed someone with extreme generosity or a time where you were blessed by someone else’s extreme generosity. Spend time praying asking God to help you become more generous by better comprehending the gift of love He has given us.

(From Today in A Manger)

The excitement of approaching Christmas sometimes lulls us into a sense of contented spiritual inertia (italics mine). What risk, what leap of faith, does God want you to take in your life today?

So I am asking myself and God these questions today. I don’t know that I have the answers yet, but I am looking for them and looking for opportunities. And I am praying, “Make me like Mary, ready to serve You. Let it be with me just as You say.”

What are you doing differently this Christmas?