’Tis the season! Are you excited? Lord knows I am! I have to confess, I have been excited about the upcoming Christmas season ever since before Halloween. Somehow I’ve turned into one of those crazies who talk about Christmas since way before Thanksgiving. And I know this is no excuse, but my family is coming to spend the holidays with us and that’s all I can think about. I will get to see my sister slash best friend, my one-year-old nephew, my brother-in-law and his Mama. Our girls will get to celebrate Christmas with their family for the first time EVER! Wouldn’t you be excited?! Wouldn’t you want to carefully plan every single detail? Wouldn’t you want to have the presents bought and wrapped way before the real craziness hits? Wouldn’t you want for everything to be picture perfect? You see, I like being prepared, I love being as organized as possible, I’m all about having a plan, I’m detail oriented, and I think I’m ready!
Except when Jesus talks about being ready, or prepared, or alert, he’s not talking about holiday shopping and neither is he talking about holiday menus or designer Christmas trees or a carefully planned list of activities for the whole family to engage in. And when Jesus talks about “that day,” he’s not talking about Christmas Day, he’s not talking about his birthday, he’s not talking about being in the right kind of spirit, feeling all warm-and-fuzzy inside, as we stand in the church during a candlelight service and sing “Silent Night, Holy Night.” He’s talking about that day that sneaks up on us like a thief in the middle of the night. He’s talking about his second coming, and the end of the world as we know it.
Now you ask me how prepared I am for THAT day! In all honesty, I don’t think about that day very much; I don’t think many of us do. And I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with it as long as we live our lives with integrity, as long as we tirelessly work for justice, as long as we are diligent in making a difference, as long as we choose the path of love rather than hate, and as long as we find a balance between calling out what is wrong and unjust without falling into a trap of vindictiveness and violence. This season, with all its glitter and sparkle, should not distract us from this. There’s something very American about a wish for everything to be picture perfect, at least on the surface, but holidays and special celebrations, though a great opportunity for us to pause and spend some quality time with our loved ones, they ought to not be an excuse for us to overlook that real life, day-to-day life, it’s not always picture perfect and that there is so much need to respond to with love and care and the work of our hands.
Happy Monday, beloveds,