It is not quite Christmas and I have a hard time believing it.
Advent slipped away. Amidst what? Not the shopping (I've bought groceries once this past month and all gifts this year are home-made or already purchased); not the parties (we really minimize those - just one thus far - all others will be during the Christmas season); not the decorating (we decorate on Christmas eve).
Amidst the vitriolic words directly towards others, including myself. Amidst reading and hearing about the evil attitudes of people in the stores. Amidst the job losses. Amidst hearing stories of consumerism. Amidst the stories of mental illness and the sufferings of families.
It doesn't feel like Christmas. Perhaps this was what the first Christmas felt like: a world in need of a Savior.
A world filled with bitterness. Filled with accusations against another's morality. A world filled with lack of understanding; lack of trying to understand. A world devoid of peace and goodwill towards one's neighbor.
And today these things coming from Christians.
If that is how non-Christians see Christians, no wonder they would rather stay away. Far away. I don't blame them.
No wonder they laugh at us for saying "Jesus is the reason for the season" as they put up signs saying, "Use reason for the season!" implying that Jesus could not be what we claim Him to be.
Because we can't even get His teachings right - His teaching on morality and accusing one's neighbor and planks and splinters. Therefore, how could we possibly get right an understanding of His birth? And death? and resurrection?
Something to ponder next time one is tempted to call into question a stranger's 'Christianity'. Are we judging splinters through our planks?
So yes. Perhaps it does feel like Christmas. That first Christmas. A world filled with disbelief. And vitriolic hatred - because that is what it is when Christians behave with such malice, with such worldly consumerism. The world was full of it that first Christmas. Then, just a few months after that first Christmas, innocent children were slaughtered in the name of murdering a newborn King - by a man with a mental illness.
Sound familiar yet?
The truly faithful were begging for Him to come then; the truly faithful are begging now. Search your heart - are you begging for Him to come now? Or are you hoping for another day, another year, another lifetime?
Perhaps it is time to prepare for the coming of Jesus into our own hearts. Our own stony, cold hearts. That is what Advent was supposed to be about. Is supposed to be about. Preparation for His coming - not the first time; but the second time - the Parousia. When God will be all in all.
Prepare our hearts to receive Him - all of Him, in all of us.
It begins NOW.
It is not quite Christmas - there is not peace in our hearts. But doesn't that mean it IS quite Christmas?
It is not quite Christmas. Christ is not quite present.
Can we make it happen? Can we be ready for Him?
Only then, can it truly be Christmas. As He intended it.
It begins NOW.