Greetings to friends far and near!

We’re already halfway through the Season of Advent, as we anticipate once again the Good News of the Savior’s birth. It is a busy time of year, filled with anticipation, expectation, and—alas—stress. Our expectations of the season are high. We shop, bake, prepare, decorate, visit, and otherwise engage ourselves in the activities of the season.

Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with any of these activities. Children are wide-eyed with anticipation; parents try to cope with the stress of getting everything done, while still continuing to maintain a daily routine of work, meals, and sleep. And we look forward to the renewal of seeing friends and family that we might not get to see any other time of year.

In our current times, though, there’s an undercurrent of stress—of unrest. We’re bombarded with bad news. We’re trying to maintain a sense of the “Normal”, while our civic life appears to be crumbling into a chaos of discord. For some folks, all this is in addition to the stress of family tensions that often emerge during the holiday season: broken relationships, loneliness, and remembrances of better times long past.

We might find ourselves attempting to compensate for all this stress by letting ourselves become busier than ever—trying to balance even more in the few remaining weeks before Christmas and New Year’s.

What we need is…time. Time to reflect, time to pray, time for scripture, and time to simply ponder the wonderous love of our God who enters so fully into our lives in the person of Jesus.

So, make the time! Our holiday schedules will usually not easily give us the time we need, so we must be very intentional about making the time we need for ourselves. Perhaps get up fifteen minutes earlier than usual, to give yourself some time to pray and reflect. Turn off the television, step away from the computer, put your phone on “Do Not Disturb”, and enjoy the quietude of God’s presence. You might find yourself feeling restless—antsy, the first few times you try this, but stick with it. You will find yourself having more time than you thought, and the world around you will seem much less chaotic.

Contemplate the wonder of God’s presence in your life, of a love so great that he chose to come as one of us, to teach, to heal, to bless, and to love. Give thanks for what you have, pray for your needs, the needs of others, and the needs of the world.  And most especially give thanks for the dwelling of God in our midst.

Peace and Blessings to all,
Pastor Greg