Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Dead Horse.

Alright. I know that I'm in the church world.

And in the church world, Christmas and Easter are beaten like the dead horse that's starting to attract flies.

This morning, someone asked a large group of church members if they were experiencing "Advent Fatigue". They all answered with a resounding "Yes!"

I understand the sentiment. My legs are sore from shopping for last minute stuff. My hands still have paint on them from the homemade manger I painted so that baby Jesus could get born into JD's house under the budget of $10 for a nativity. (By the way, don't paint your own nativity set! Mine is super ugly but he won't take it down because he's afraid to hurt my feelings. I told him my eyes were hurting from looking at the ugly thing.) I know that the pile of presents waiting to be wrapped is as large as the mountain of groceries I've yet to buy.

But all of that is not making me miserable. 
It's not making me fatigued.
My to-do list is consuming my mind, but so is the joy that I get to host people and give to people things that they want and need. I know that last week, I even talked about some of the Sticks in the Mud that I'm getting frustrated with for Christmas. But even though they threaten my joy, they have not stolen it.

I think the idea of "Advent Fatigue" is because we're beating the dead horse. Now, I'm all for telling people to remember the love story of Jesus coming to earth this holiday season. But I'm also all for having fun. Presents. Cookies. Elf on the Shelf. Santa. Christmas lights.

So this week, if you're experiencing Advent Fatigue, I'm sorry. I can't imagine what kind of pressure so many people are under during the holidays. I know some holidays can be sad.
But I also know that a good dose of fun will get you out of the funk. It'll get you out of the idea that maybe you're not celebrating Christmas fully enough.

Turn on the A/C and light the fireplace so that it feels Christmas-y down here!
Watch silly Christmas movies.
Let the kids hang tinsel. On their siblings.
Empty your gas tank by going to look at Christmas lights in other neighborhoods!
Do all the fun stuff that stuffy Christians will point at and say "Jesus is the reason for the season!"And then you can look at them and say "I love Him. That's why I'm having fun!"

Last night was Monday date night. We went to Subway and ate it in the car while driving to see The Hobbit. I didn't really want to go see The Hobbit (even though I enjoyed it thoroughly) but I figured it would be good for me.
Three hours with no way to check off anything on my to-do list.
Except for the one present I bought on Amazon Prime while waiting for the girl to butter our popcorn.

So go do something non-Christmas-y.
But don't let this season rob you of your joy. It's about Jesus, yes. But all of our "non-Jesus-y" traditions point to Jesus. Practicing hospitality (having relatives over). Giving (an Xbox to our brother). Feeding folks (with delicious cookies).  Having fun! Loving people!

I know that's not the most profound blog post I've written, but I know a lot of people that I just want to shake and tell them to lighten up! This season is fun. No one will judge you if everything isn't perfect. If you have joy to share, everyone else will find theirs too.

This week in NewSong, we sang:
"Angels We Have Heard on High" off of Chris Tomlin's Christmas album
"A Mighty Fortress" by Christy Nockels
"White Flag" by Chris Tomlin
and for the offering,
"Not For a Moment" by Meredith Andrews.

"Not For a Moment" has quickly become one of my favorite songs. As I hear the many stories of people struggling right now, including the shooting this past week, I can sing all of these songs in faith. But "Not For a Moment" really settled into my heart while praying for all of these people all week.

So! I will see you all on THURSDAY at the Christmas Communion Service. It's at 6:30 in the gym, so bring your family and friends!
Merry Christmas!

P.S. - For all you woman-type-folks, here is one of the great articles that got me thinking on this. In Defense of the Christmas Rush . Enjoy!

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