The four gifts we most commonly hear around Christmas time in church are peace, love, joy, and hope.
The other gifts we spend our most time on are the things we give to others – toys, gadgets, computers, clothes, and goodies.
That’s why this year we are exploring the unexpected gifts of Advent.
Stuff like uncertainty, preparation, and surprise.
These are unusual and different gifts. Who would think in a difficult economic time that uncertainty would be a gift? What surprise could be in store for us beyond unwrapping pretty gifts beneath a tree? What does it mean to be prepared for Christmas beyond our shopping and decoration?
Each of us probably finds some struggle in this season as we seek to balance all of life’s pressures and yet leave some lasting memory. Advent challenges us to go deeper, to yearn to understand the gift God shares with the world – a gift of presence, forgiveness, and life.
I guess this is what an alternative gift is – one that makes us stop, think, feel, and dream.
Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, life abundant.”
Christ invites us to go deeper than the wrappings of our gifts and the lights on our trees – to wait in wonder for Emmanuel, God Is With Us, into our lives once again.
- In addition to our exploration of these alternative gifts through our worship together, we invite you to bring other alternative Christmas gift ideas to share with your friends at the Table. We already have some information from Church World Service, Heifer International, Threads of Hope, and others. Do you know of gifts that also seed hope and peace around the world? Bring your information to share this Sunday.
- Also starting this Sunday, we will decorate a Christmas tree with our prayers through this Advent season. Small cards will be available for you to write prayers, names, wishes, joys, and dreams. These cards will not be read by others.
- Finally, end your Sunday of worship by joining with others during our Advent Workshop and build care packages for our college students and men and women served in the armed forces. We will try to have some kits available immediately after worship to be put together in the Great Hall.
- Rev. Nathan