Love is the theme for the fourth and final week of Advent, as we approach the day that we celebrate Christ’s coming to earth in the form of a baby.
With the house decorated and presents wrapped, our thoughts begin to focus on those who will be gathering with us at Christmastime. Those thoughts aren’t always kind either.
Maybe Uncle Harry is coming, who always smells of cigars.
Or cousin Sam, whose hugs are uncomfortably long.
And those spoiled rotten twins who will rummage through the gifts under the tree to find the ones with their names on them.
Aunt Susie doesn’t go anywhere without taking her pooch, Sassy, along. And you still haven’t gotten the urine smell out of the rug from last year.
Little children will be running around screaming, even though you asked them to play outside.
Your cousin from Alabama (although she has no children of her own) will tell the parents in the house how they are doing it all wrong.
As usual, most of the cooking will fall to you, while SOME people who shall remain nameless sit around watching football.
Does any of this sound familiar? We don’t always look forward to the times when our houses are filled with family, for a meal or a week. Why do we let those little things cast a shadow on what Christmas really means?
We’re all busy but I’m asking you to stop.
Yes, right now, as you read this.
Sit down (if you’re not sitting already). First, take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
Christmas is about love. It’s about Jesus. It’s about God’s precious gift to us. Salvation. Hope. Joy. Peace. It’s ours if we want it. Do you want it?
Good. Now repeat after me:
“It’s ok if everything isn’t perfect. It’s about being together. It’s about sharing the love of Jesus with each other. Thank you, Jesus, for this family and for your love.”
Forgive the shortcomings of others. Ignore the smoke and other smells. Look past the opinions of well-meaning relatives. Overlook the chaos of the children who are just…children. Be present in the moment. Offer hope and joy and peace to someone who needs it. Love people the way God loves us.
May your home be filled with love and laughter.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:11-12
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