Hi everyone, Rob here.
The season of Advent is almost over and Christmas Day beckons. What does your Christmas Day look like? More importantly, what does celebration look like for you on Christmas Day? How do we celebrate from the heart on a day when so much pressure is placed on external celebrations?
First things first. How is your heart? Is it filled with gratitude for the coming of Jesus, God-in-the flesh? Does it contain wonder and awe before a God who loves us so much that he gave us his one and only son? Is it filled with love and gratitude for others? If you’re anything like me your heart is a mixed bag right now. We’ve had a very fulfilling Advent season as a church and family but life has been busy! Right now my mind feels restless and my heart is struggling to let God’s peace in. However, the desire is there and I know that I need to make some quiet space very soon and sit with God for an hour or so. I need to get out what’s causing my restlessness and soak in what will give me peace. Maybe this is what you need as well?
Celebration begins with a settled and peaceful heart. It enables us to be attentive to the present, to the right now. This is really important on Christmas Day when there’s presents to be opened, dinner to be cooked, church to attend, kids to manage and other family members in the mix as well. All those things are important and can be sources of joy but not if they’re at the expense of our heart. So here are some things that I intend to practice on Christmas Day to help my heart stay peaceful and attentive so that joy can be experienced.
- Pray when I wake up, being thankful for God-in-the-flesh coming for me and all of humanity. Read part of the Christmas story to centre me in why this day is special.
- Have a shower and shave before any presents are opened. It helps me feel awake and alive.
- Have a good breakfast and draw the family’s attention to the birth of Jesus and the reason we celebrate.
- Enjoy the present opening process. Kiley’s great at making sure one present gets opened at a time so we can share in each other’s joy at receiving our gifts.
- Leave for church in good time. If all the presents aren’t done we’ll finish them later.
- Sing heartily, smile lots, hug people and enjoy laughter and fun at our church service!
- Do my part in helping with the meal with gladness. It normally means keeping out of the way and making sure the kids are playing nicely!
- Chew my food. Savour the flavours. Make toasts. Enjoy the love of my family and my God. This is a celebratory meal. It’s a feast that looks ahead to the great feast of the kingdom. Enjoy!
- Help with the dishes in good time. Tiredness will hit later and resentment of dishes may kick in!
- Get some gentle exercise later in the afternoon. A walk or a bit of golf with my dad is the perfect antidote to the effects of a celebratory feast.
- Enjoy a cold beer and a summer’s evening with my family.
- Relax with a good movie knowing that it’s been a good day.
There’ll also be hugs, play, the odd moment of discipline and a few hiccups. I also know that if Kiley and I don’t start the day centred in our life in Christ it could all go quite wrong. He is our peace and our joy. He is life and the source of all good things. We are celebrating his love for humanity, his commitment of grace to us all and we do it by enjoying the life he has given us and thanking him for it. So eat, drink and be merry. Raise a toast, pull a cracker, sing with gusto and hug often. Take moments to breathe and be thankful. Keep it simple but never boring. Jesus is there. He loves celebrations!
From David and I, thanks for reading. God Bless you and yours. Have a wonderful, wholehearted Christmas!