So this weekend is a busy shopping weekend. Not only is it sort of the official start of the Christmas shopping season, but there are sales all over the place. And to top it off, my kids have a plethora of birthday parties that they’ve been invited to. Just yesterday I had my son’s at a birthday party, and we had to go to the store to get a gift for another birthday that was happening today. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure what the crowd was going to be like on a Saturday afternoon in the biggest toy store there is (gee whiz).
And it wasn’t that bad actually. Some of the people that were there, however, was a different story. You could just tell how stressed they were with all they had to do and confused as to what to buy and frustrated that their kids weren’t behaving. I admit that I’m usually that guy too, especially if I was in a hurry. But the point of this trip wasn’t just to get a gift for today’s birthday party, I was also to see what our kids might want for their own Christmas gifts.
So I was able to relax a bit. Enjoy my time with them. Laugh at some of the goofy toys that we saw (like a dinosaur mask that opens its mouth when you open your mouth). I actually was having such a good time that one of the moms that was there even commented “it’s hard to tell who is having more fun with that mask”.
Instead of seeing this as a chore that needed to be done, I am now able to look forward to trips to the mall with my kids because I can see it for what it is: spending quality time with them. At the same time I can see it for what it isn’t: stressing out over what to do.
That slight change of perspective opens up a whole ball of yarn for me, in that I can look forward to all the craziness of kids knowing that it can be fulfilling and heartwarming. However, I probably will avoid the malls until January 1st all the same.
This season of Advent is to be about hope. But it is hard to have hope when things seem bleak and actually a little violent, and we hear what sounds like the end of the world and it kind of scares us. But we forget that the season isn’t about looking forward to how the world ends, it isn’t about looking ahead to how death will prevail over us and everyone we know, it isn’t about hoping for that end that has come near.
But it is about hope in new life. Hope in a different world. Hope in a Saviour who will increase and abound in us a love for one another and for all, as God abounds in love for us.
Looking forward to this Saviour and realising that he is here with us increases in us a sense of peace, community, and right relationship with each other and God as we look for ways to love and serve for the sake of a better world.
So with all the stress of the season, with all the fear mongering of some religious circles, with all the bleak and violent world views out there, let us remain hopeful in a God who cherishes us and loves us and brings us together as a community full of grace and mercy.
Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!