God loved the world so much, he gave us his Son.
John 3:16 (paraphrase)
Modern life is crowded and cacophonous. Everywhere you turn there are more people shouting at you, demanding attention and wanting to consume your time. Drastic action is needed. I am in total agreement with Stephen Cottrell’s prose in his excellent book Do Nothing to Change Your Life: Discovering What Happens When You Stop. Drastic action is needed so we can stop the bleeding of joy, peace and love, not to mention fun and contentment, ebbing away from us. If we don’t take action, or in the completely counter-intuitive fashion of Cottrell, stop taking particular action, life will slip by, not to mention yet another Christmas season, and poof, it’ll be over. Life is by nature short, and it tends to fly by after you reach a certain age. As life rips by it takes with it past opportunity that we will never see again…but, it also brings with it new and fresh opportunity. Life can bring fresh potential every 24 hours, if we choose to see it that way.
Are you tired of the crowded, cacophonous and speed-of-light way of existence? I’m guessing you’ll answer in the affirmative so I’ll carry on: During this Advent Season why not unplug from the normal norms and live a little? Why not choose to sing and dance rather than engaging in the mortal combat that is modern day shopping? Why not engage with other people more than with the computer, tablet, smart phone or endless reruns of “It’s A Wonderful Life?” Rather than giving an elaborate present to someone who already has many elaborate presents, seek out a person who would see a non-elaborate present as a magnificent gift? Why not skip the Christmas turkey or ham for one year and provide food for people who would view a serving of Christmas turkey as a true delight? Get the drift? Maybe what we need to do is less of the norm and more of the not-so-normal. Maybe, possibly, Advent and Christmas is more about others than it is about us. Cottrell sums it up this way:
What has happened to us? How is it that we have become so isolated from each other, so terrified of our neighbor? We have successfully betrayed that foundational belief that we belong to each other as part of humanity. And once that cornerstone is ripped away the rest crumbles. Our whole edifice of ethics and community is built upon the recognition that I am my brother’s keeper; that people do belong to each other; that there is such a thing as a common humanity and a common good, and for the Christian, to live like this is also to know that when you offer acts of service and kindness to each other you are offering them to Christ himself.
If it’s true that the noise all around us, even our own noise, drowns out the voice of God, especially during this busy month of lead up to Christmas, maybe it’s time to de-noise our lives. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Heaven is much too serious a place for work. It will be all dance and play there.” Maybe, possibly, we should get a jump start on heaven and do a little dancing and playing while we’re still here. Maybe, possibly, this could become the most fun and effective Christmas season in many years. It’s also possible that our fun and dancing and celebration will attract the attention of others who haven’t yet fully embraced God’s amazing love. And, this is the key to the whole puzzle: God’s amazing love is what we should be focusing upon each December. God loved us so much that He gave us the Christ, our salvation and our peace. If that ain’t worth dancing and singing about…ain’t nothing worth dancing and singing about!
God, thank you for the joy I feel in my soul as I await the gift of Jesus afresh and anew. You’ve given me life and for that I give you praises in return. I promise to celebrate your gift to me each and every day. I’m gonna share the love God! Amen and Amen.
Johns Creek Baptist Church