“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14
Have you ever had a nightmare that was so real and so horrible, but you couldn’t seem to wake up and escape? I’ve had this recurring dream for weeks now—it started around Thanksgiving. It was so dreadful, I must give you a trigger warning. This may even disturb you and your sleeping.
In my dream, people were preparing for Thanksgiving—for traveling to be with family or planning dinner menus, the various things we do to celebrate. But instead of anticipating seeing loved ones, the conversations around me swirled with the busy-ness of the season, the crowds at the stores, the stress of traveling—not the joy of thanksgiving. “How were the lines?” and “Who do you think will be there?” and “I can’t decide what to make,” were some of the questions and comments I was hearing. Instead of thankfulness, it seemed that dread and anxiety were the order of the day. In my dream, we scraped through Thanksgiving with lots of talk about the work involved, the time it took to prepare, and the exhaustion. People were so glad to “get over with it” so they could relax. But the worst was still ahead: Christmas.
When I worked for several months in Uganda, it was common for the government to announce a holiday on the radio the night before said holiday. That meant that all the banks would be closed; offices would be shut down; many stores would not be serving; and people were generally inconvenienced. But we’re not subject to that sort of ambiguity. All our lives we know that Christmas with its activities will arrive on December 25. But in my dream, I kept hearing, “I have so many things to do.” “I’m not ready.” “There are lots of parties.” “I’m so tired.” “I’m so stressed.” “I can hardly wait until the holidays are over.”
The nightmare was so upsetting, I wanted to scream. Instead, I woke up relieved that it was just a dream. A very bad dream. We have had a whole year to plan for the celebration of Christ’s coming, plenty of time. We have that peace that was promised by the angels; no need to stress. We have the joy of realizing that Baby Boy brings salvation and hope; no need to worry. We have the gifts given us by the Spirit; including patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self control, faithfulness. Actually, we have everything we need to enjoy the seasons of Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.
Joy to the world. THE LORD IS COME. Let’s celebrate.
Father, forgive us when we get caught up in materialism and the world. We are part of your Kingdom. Help us to live as citizens of the Kingdom, always glorifying and honoring you with great joy. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.