Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Hustle n' Bustle- Rekindle the Joy #KeepingAdvent

Here we are- the holiday season is upon us. You might even be already sick of it,  because maybe you noticed it sort of started before it actually started. If you’re like me maybe you noticed Christmas decorations weeks out before Thanksgiving?  At Starbucks, the Thanksgiving Blend came out before Halloween, then was all out before Thanksgiving. I was actually drinking their Christmas blend coffee the day before Thanksgiving. Insanity! I didn't have time to even properly sit down with my family to be thankful for the year and everything. I was quickly being thrust into the next phase of figuring out gifts before I even cut the turkey.  I know there are plenty of feelings going around the idea of protecting the sanctity of the holidays from the stores and store employees, but this piece isn’t about ranting or raving against stores or consumers. Who doesn’t love a good deal?  This piece isn’t about any of that- this is about joy and rekindling the spirit.

So I start off with Starbucks- joy in a cup :) Well, almost. I love their slogans and taglines each and every year. They are genius at marketing. Why can’t the church be more like Starbucks? Not at all like the Youtube video on that. I mean in trying to always capture the meaning of the holidays. They (Starbucks) write:

The holidays are about spending time with loved ones and of course, giving gifts. Our Holiday Village is a place where you and yours can share seasonal moments and experience the joy of the holidays each and every day.

What would you write? What are these holidays about to you? Is it about sharing coffee and memories or about something else? I like their slogan this year, “Rekindle the joy.” This is perfect for our Advent series here at St. Luke’s Episcopal: #KeepingAdvent. Along with the other holidays, the Advent season is coming too. How many people get “geeked” for Advent like they do for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, New Years? Certainly not me, but that’s why this series is important. Advent is often the overlooked season of the church. Advent is a season in and of itself- more than just a countdown, where you get to open a little calendar door for a chocolate down to Christmas day.  I must say here that I am not speaking badly about chocolate advent calendars. I love ‘em, have ‘em, BUT there is more to this special season. Advent is about so many things- our reminder of God’s promise, that Christ came, is coming again, to keep waiting, to remember the joy of our salvation,  to keep our lamps burning, to rekindle the joy.

May you, this Advent season, hear the story of the holy father’s love of the world and for you. Be reminded again that he is indeed coming back. That he does not delay nor is he slow or keep his word. 1 Corinthians 16:13 has a great word,” Stay awake, stand firm in your faith, be brave, be strong.”

This time of year can be full of joy and harmony, but I also understand that this is also a time for stress and tension too. Maybe you are like me and most of us at St. Luke’s- we need this Advent to re-spark within us some joy. We/I need joy. We/I need to be rekindled. Thank you Starbucks for (unofficially) kick starting off a wonderful campaign. :) I encourage you to follow this Advent series this season. It’s ok to have hustle n’ bustle everyday and it’s also okay to sit down to reflect have some time for yourself. In fact, doing that will benefit everyone around you.

Here’s a poem I recently read about reflection:

Breathe,  Breathe in,
Feel it going in,
 Feel my lungs expand,
Feel it,
  Release it,
Release my shoulders,
 Let me eyelids collapse
Breathe in good,
 Exhale the bad,
Fill with positive,
 Create space,
Feel the distance leave us,
 Become attuned,
(author unknown)

May the peace of the Lord be with you,
Mike Belmares; Mt. 6:33
(Follow him on Twitter: @metromonk)

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