CHURCH CORNER: Reflect on the true meaning of season

Wow. Another Thanksgiving passed, another turkey consumed and after looking in the mirror at the obvious pounds I’ve recently added, another reminder of why we don’t feast like that more often.

Now, the Christmas season is upon us and the joys of the season are in full swing. In this season filled with so much hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, planning for family time and festive decorating, I find myself often forgetting the reason we celebrate the season at all. It’s easy to forget that amidst the sterilized commercial packaging and bright lights of seasonal marketing that the season celebrates a life coming into the world. A very, very special life.

Our outpouring of celebration stems from the fact that some 2,000 years ago, amid an assortment of domestic animals, flies and the less-than serene atmosphere of childbirth, a child was born. He was to be called Jesus, Emmanuel or God with us. It is through this life of Jesus that we have hope in life, hope in death and hope of a world to come.

It’s strange how the Nativity scene in our living room makes the event seem so peaceful. The animals are all quiet and neatly organized, the shepherds are silent and don’t smell at all like sheep, and even the Mother is fully dressed and kneeling, right after giving birth. I doubt that if you or I would have been there that we would have seen such a serene sight. Perhaps it is because of the neat tidiness that we have given the event, or the fact that we’ve forgotten the birth altogether and replaced it with shopping and busyness that the season seems at times so aloof.

I invite you to join with me this Advent season to remember and reflect on the reality of the season and the reason it is celebrated. It’s not because of cookies, the holiday music we love or the giving and receiving of gifts, but rather because a true, real, authentic life came into the world. And his true, real, authentic life wants nothing more than to become intertwined with our true, real, authentic lives. This is the joy and hope of the Advent season. And for this I am most thankful.