How do you get ready for Christmas? Perhaps you decorate a tree and put up decorations around your home. There may be special gatherings with friends, a concert you like to attend, or a place to visit that is decorated with lovely lights. It may also be that you get gifts for people.
How do you get ready for Christ? It is possible that the activities I mentioned open up in you space for Christ to reside more deeply. There may be overlap in the answers to the two questions. Still, the second question is a decidedly different question than the first.
The second question is the one I want to ask myself and you. I’ve been consciously considering what I will do to make more room for Christ this Advent season. One endeavor is reading a collection of stories and poems written between 1880 and 1953. Some of the authors include Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Du Bois. It was in the museum store in Boston and it seemed to reach out to me. Experiencing the Christmas story through the lens of a culture not my own I believe will help make more space in me for Christ to dwell.
How one gets ready for Christ in the world around us depends in part on making more room in our spirits for Christ to dwell. There is a movement between contemplation and action. There is a spilling out of Christ’s generosity and compassion as we allow them to be seeded and watered in our own hearts. We can get ready for Christ in the world around us by making room for people left out and left behind by an economy that rewards the clever, the already wealthy, and the lucky.
What do we do at church that helps us get ready for Christ? We will decorate the sanctuary and it will be beautiful. It will get us “in the mood for Christmas”. I wonder, will it help us make space for Christ to grow up a little more in us, and hope that it will. I hope that somehow, the feelings we have during this season get translated into actions of deepening spirituality and expressions of kindness and justice in the year that follows.
What DO we do at church that helps us get ready for Christ? Beyond our corporate worship, what are you willing to do to make space for Christ in your own spirit and in your living?