Keep holiday holy

Be intentional. Don’t let busyness cut into your spiritual experience of Advent.

JOE IOVINO
United Methodist Communications

“Are you ready for Christmas?” Whenever someone asks that question, my heartrate accelerates as I remember all the things yet to do. However, if we thought about Advent a little differently, our “getting ready” could be more of a holy time.

Most of us strive to “keep Christ in Christmas,” but the busyness has a way of encroaching upon our joy and worship. We might benefit from deciding to make time for some important activities as we get ready for Christmas.

Worship privately.
Spending time alone with God can be a great way to draw closer. Upper Room Ministries publishes devotions every day of the year that offer a scripture reading, a devotional thought, and a prayer. Discipleship Ministries has produced a guide for Advent worship in the home that includes things to do or think about each day leading up to Christmas.

Pray through your decorating.
Many of our Christmas decorations have religious significance. The wreath is round, reminding us of the constancy of God. The Christmas tree is an evergreen, a reminder that God’s promises never fail. Even the lights can serve as reminders that Jesus is the light of world! Not to mention the nativity scene on the coffee table and the angels on the special Christmas party napkins. Whether decorating yourself or enjoying others’ displays, let the images spur you to prayers of gratitude.

Remember.
These preparations are sometimes filled with memories—ornaments from our childhood Christmas tree, recipes your first learned from your grandmother, and more. Take the time to savor the memories and give thanks for the saints who have lived before you.

Give fair trade.
Fair trade gifts, like those available through the vendors certified through The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), support companies that pay their workers a livable wage. These workers are then able to support their families and contribute to a just and sustainable economy.

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