Weekly Lifelines 12/23/2021

When you get right down to it, it wouldn’t be hard to conclude that the hallmark of
the Christmas season is negotiation. How many cookies to make? How much to
spend on that gift? How much time with one side of the family before we have to
leave to see the other? How many days can we step away from work before things
pile up? How much fun can we squish into the last few days of the year? We’re
engaged in so many good things this time of year, it seems we’re always trying to
squeeze too much joy into too little space.

In the crush of all those details, I sometimes lose the forest for the trees. Getting
lost in details of exactly what’s happening with whom and in which place can
overwhelm the reason I’m doing these things in the first place. But once the
moment arrives, once the party starts, once the gifts are exchanged, I remember
what all that stress was for: Joy.

The joy of sharing time and space with loved once. The joy of gathering for
conversation over warm drinks and tasty treats. The joy of singing and laughing,
the joy of sharing our burdens and remembering what we have lost. The joy of
community, a people bound together by love.That’s what I love about this season and what I love about our community of faith all year long. Every December, the world goes to great lengths to lift up what we have all year long—community, support, love, and joy.

Beneath the background buzz of all the holiday busyness there lies something
deeper, a quiet truth that’s always there, when we choose to turn our attention to
it. What our culture celebrates this season is what our community of faith
celebrates every single week: God’s love dwelling among us, Jesus the Christ
extending life and joy and transformation to every human being.

However the holiday negotiations shake out for you and your family, whatever
modifications you make for the pandemic, whether you’re joyful or blue this
season, remember to make time to connect with the truth that sparks our joy and
brings life to the world: the love of God made manifest in Christ Jesus.

With blessings for Christmas and on the year to come,
Justin

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