Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of year. I like the overall good mood most people are in and love being hearing Christmas music nearly everywhere I go. Even as a child, I think that the emotion that I would say best described how I saw Christmas was anticipation. As a kid, I anticipated the joy of getting gifts. Now I anticipate the joy of giving gifts.
Even though I like gifts (getting and giving), another thing I like about the Christmas season is the celebration of Advent, the centuries old tradition that uses the four weeks before Christmas as a time of focused preparation of Christ’s birth. Since I wasn’t raised a Methodist, it took me a few years when I was a member of a Methodist church in Dallas to fully understand the importance of Advent. As the candles and podium coverings colors changed each week, it seemed to shift the focus from gift shopping to creating an eagerness about Christ’s birth.
Maybe I’m homesick for my former church home, but for some reason this year I find myself thinking more and more about seeing the weeks before Christmas differently. . Or maybe it is the chaotic political situations in the United States right now. So much now seems turned upside down with some Christians proudly supporting politicians who have either admitted to or have been accused of sexual misconduct and sexual assault of children As disappointing as it is that some Christians are supporting these obviously un-Christlike sexual predators, it’s an even greater disappointment that the most hateful racist and sexist remarks are being made during this season of the anticipation of the birth of Christ. It’s obvious that these actions go against the teachings of love and compassion Christ.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 warns about what appears to be happening right now with these “Christians:” For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, 4 and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable] (Amplified). The sad part is that some Christians are so deceived that they either do not realize or care about the irony of the timing.
So, as we have a few weeks left before Christmas, imagine how things would be if instead of focusing on shopping for gifts for people that we may or may not like or politics, we spent time focusing on celebrating the anticipation, hope, joy and love found in the birth of Jesus Christ.
Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.