No reminders are needed that this is the season of “holiday overload.” I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find that I need to shut out all the “Christmas noise,” at least some of which obscures the purpose and meaning of the holiday. As with many things I need to find a balance, but the balance is dynamic and sometimes I’m ready to dive into more music and decorations and celebrations while at other times I feel the need to retreat to a quiet place and shut out the noise and lights and sparkly fun and meditate on the Word and pray in the silence, if silence can be found. Maybe you can relate to this.
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve added to our Christmas list of experiences. I’ve been focusing our informal Sunday services on the Advent, even lighting a candle each week as a symbol for our themes covered so far: Hope, Peace, and Joy. Next Sunday, we’ll consider Love. Each service we’ve added an extra touch of Christmas to our service. The first Sunday Beth made a huge pot of Mexican Christmas punch (“ponche” is served hot and filled with fruit). The second Sunday we added cookie decorating. Yesterday, Beth made a sort of American spiced cider (Bethie-style). I have no idea what we’ll do for next Sunday. Hopefully, we’re (i.e. Beth’s) not out of ideas yet!
Our church has decided to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve with a fellowship lunch and a Christmas devotional. Most Christmas celebrations in Mexico involve family and parties that last past midnight. So to avoid conflicting with family plans, a late night, and the cultural noise, we’ll celebrate together a little earlier, a lot quieter, and enjoy a time of worship filled with hope, peace, joy, and love.
We recently helped out with a Christmas fellowship for church leaders in the region. Beth and her mom made about 150 plain Christmas cookies for decorating at the event. Beth also made a “cheese ball snowman.” We provided 3 poinsettias (and Beth’s mom also provided 3 poinsettias) to adorn the stage during the event and to be given away at the conclusion of the event. It was a special evening to serve and to reconnect with many beloved believers we do not have the opportunity to see very often.