In the season of Advent where the main themes are Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, you may be wondering about today’s title – The Way of Partying!
However, after the waiting and the increasing darkness of Advent (in the Northern Hemisphere, as we move towards the shortest day), the arrival of Jesus, the Light of the World, is a cause for celebration and celebrations often involve parties.
“Celebration is at the heart of the way of Christ. He entered the world on a high note of jubilation: ‘I bring you good news of a great joy,’ cried the angel, ‘which shall come to all people’ (Luke 2:10). He left the world bequeathing his joy to the disciples: ‘These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full’ (John 15:11) Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (p.239)
As we read through the Old Testament we see the people of Israel gathering together at various points in the year to celebrate the goodness of God.
In the New Testament we see Jesus attending these events and we read that he attended other celebrations, for example the Wedding of Cana, in John 2:1 where he performed his first miracle by turning the water into wine. He also used the theme of feasts in the stories he told to show people what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.
Christmas is traditionally a time for celebration and feasting, though sadly over the years the emphasis has shifted from the wonder of the arrival of Jesus and the good news he came to bring, to commercialism and consumerism, which have impacted this season. Items for Christmas appear earlier and earlier in the shops and by the end of October (in the UK!) Christmas trees and lights are appearing in shopping centres!
In the run up to Christmas there are often many parties and events as well as over Christmas itself when people gather to celebrate. With all the preparations that need to be made it can become a season of increased busyness with little time for peaceful pondering on the real reason for the season. These meditations may facilitate a time of peace and being with God in the midst of the preparations: The Christmas Cake. The Christmas Tree.
This year looks like being somewhat different, as many of us will be subject to restrictions and lockdowns, in view of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Maybe the pared back nature of events this year will allow for the Light of Christ to shine more brightly in the darkness and with many Carol Services and Christmas services going online, may the good news of Christmas reach further and farther than it may otherwise have done. Check out:Home for Christmas at Trent Vineyard on 19/12/20
I would like to invite you now, to think back over previous Christmases that you have experienced and to choose one that stands out for you.
- What was it about this particular Christmas that makes it stand out for you?
- Who were you celebrating with?
- Where did you find God in this event?
Christmas can be a distressing time for some.
- Bring to mind someone you know that finds this season challenging.
- Consider how you can bring some cheer to their Christmas this year.
- Finally spend a few moment thanking God for all that was good and lovely about the Christmas you chose to ponder on, before laying your hopes and concerns about this Christmas before Him. Then close your time of quiet reflection by saying the Lord’s Prayer.