Christmas Day is now past and the church that I serve has had a good advent season. Advent, is a time of preparation and celebration; renewal and hope. It is also an anchor of peace in the midst of the commercialism of a chaotic hectic season of stress.
Many families have mourned the ability to provide an elaborate array of Christmas presents for their children. Kids don't understand layoffs, downsizing and economic issues. If we are truly honest with ourselves, many of us don't understand why corporations that make huge profits downside their employees. That it happens during the holidays only adds insult to the injury.
Advent provides a time of hope and a chance to refocus. It reminds us of how the holiday started and why we celebrate Christmas. Even for the non-religious, the recognition of advent can give us the chance to pause and celebrate on what is important.
Jobs, money and health can change at the drop of a dime. Family, friends and relationships can outlast economic difficulties or other stress. Quality spent with one another can be a source of strength in times of trouble. The true meaning of Christmas is the relationships we have with one another and with God. Advent just reminds us of that.