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Every December, especially as I’ve got older, I wonder “Where has this year gone?” It seems only a few days ago that we took down the Christmas tree, and now we’re putting it up again! Of course, in our modern day world the seasons of life tend to merge together, don’t they? I noticed that this year again as Christmas decorations started to appear alongside Halloween costumes! 

Like some of you I remember different days, when the Christmas season was 12 days long, and didn’t begin until Christmas Eve but continued into the New Year. It was a time when Advent, like the Lent season before Easter, was a time of reflection and preparation. Now the days before Christmas are so jammed packed with activities that we are often glad when the presents are opened, the tree is down, and our family has gone home, so we can rest! 

 It is also at this time of year that people post on social media things like “Put Christ back in Christmas”. I know they are well meaning, but I always want to ask “When did he leave?” He is there in the name. Christmas, or Christ Mass, – the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. He is still Emmanuel, which means “God with us!” He is still with us even if people choose to say “Happy holidays”, or play secular Christmas songs instead of Christian ones on the radio, or have raised gift giving into a consumer sport. 

Honestly, I don’t think we need to put Christ back into Christmas, I think we need to put Christ back into our own lives so we, as Christians, don’t get caught up in the materialistic frenzy of our modern day life; or make it such a busy time that we have no time to be still and to reflect on what it really means to affirm that God came among us. We also need to understand that when people do not know Christ in a personal way as Saviour and Lord, then we cannot expect them to understand, or to celebrate, Christmas the way we do. In fact, Christmas offers us the opportunity to truly be counter cultural by emphasizing the life changing good news of the gospel with others.

 As you reflect on what Christmas means to you, here’s an invitation to “Practice Christmas” by Rita Berglund that you may find helpful.

Practice Christmas! By inspiring hope.  

Practice Christmas! By working for peace.  

Practice Christmas! By making sounds of joy.  

Practice Christmas! By reaching out with generous love.  

Practice Christmas! By inviting the transformation of your heart.  

Practice Christmas! By spreading the good news of Christ.  

Practice Christmas! With every aspect of aliveness.  

Practice Christmas!  

Source: Reinventing Worship. Brad Berglund. © 2006 Judson Press. p. 122. Reproduced with permission of Judson Press. 

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