“Christmas Will Come”

Thursday, December 14

David C. Clark, Minister of Children and Families 

Advent is our season of attention and anticipation. It is a time when we acknowledge that not only is God going to show up in the world, but that it will happen at the most unlikely time under the most unlikely circumstances. Therefore, as it was read in worship, we are to keep awake and keep our senses keenly focused on what is happening around us.

For me over the last three years, Advent has also been a season of seminary finals, Manger Sundays, family and friends parties, Christmas shopping, and all the regular to-dos that need to get done in order for life to keep happening. I tell the children often that everyday I know I will forget at least one thing. This time of year, it feels like ten things. As you can see above, even this blog you are reading is something that fell off the radar. As I type, there is a final paper open in the background, waiting for its last three pages. The truth is that our lives do not slow down during this early Christmas season. We will not be able to put down any of the balls we have in the air and in fact, folks will toss us new ones, hand us a spinning plate, and a unicycle. With everything else in motion, I sometimes bristle at the Advent request, “slow down, pay attention.”

When I get out of sorts and overwhelmed with what this season asks of me, I have to remind myself of a few things. First, I have to remember that Grace is still available to me no matter how many plates I have spinning, or how many plates I drop. I also have to remind myself that the surest way to receive some of that Grace is to offer it to others. Second, I have to remind myself that Advent is a time of God interrupting our lives. Advent knows it is inconvenient and startling. It is supposed to catch us off guard and maybe frustrate us a bit. If I’m feeling this way, it means I’m at least prepared to fully experience the lesson of the season. And third, I have to remember it’s ok. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed, it’s ok to become frustrated, it’s ok to forget, it’s ok to be caught off guard. The Christmas story tells me that my whole faith came into being in a time exactly like this – tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, desperate for a little peace and quiet.

I know my finals will all be handed in, I know all the presents will be bought and wrapped, all the pies will be baked, all the Church School classrooms set up and lessons planned. I know that Christmas will come and I will suddenly know what it was all for.