I have a couple of friends with whom I usually plan some sort of pre-Christmas get-together. Sometimes it's been the Philly Pops Christmas concert, sometimes it's been Peddler's Village and the Cock 'n Bull Restaurant, other times it's been something else. This year, we started out considering the Philly Pops again, and then got stuck on where to go for dinner. Then someone suggested we go to New York to see the Rockettes. That idea floated around for a couple of weeks while we tried to decide whether we were driving or taking the train. Then there was a suggestion of the Christmas Village at LOVE Park, which resulted in trying to decide where to park - or should we meet up somewhere and take the train? Somewhere along the line, we then decided we'd just go out to dinner somewhere "interesting". First it was the Victor Café, then it was the Moshulu.
Finally we did a 3-way call. Someone said, "Going into the city is a pain. Why don't we try to go someplace where we'll have no parking worries, and no decisions about trains? After batting that around for a bit, we decided on the Wayne location of the White Dog Café.
Of course, dinner in Wayne is a far cry from a day in NYC, isn't it? And maybe we just decided to be take the lazy way out, that's true. I really LIKED the idea of NYC, but sometimes it's not such a bad thing to save yourself some time and stress, and settle for a simpler, less complicated alternative.
These days, I find myself thinking that way about a LOT of the "hoopla" that surrounds the Christmas season. Sometimes it seems that there is so much to do, so much to accomplish, and so much to be involved in, and so much running around to do that it all begins to feel like a gigantic burden. Don't you feel the same way? Of course you do.
So ... maybe this is the year to try to keep it as simple as we can. When God came to earth as a baby in Bethlehem, I doubt very much that the response He was hoping for had much to do with constant parties, frantic shopping trips, bargain-hunting, lawns and houses that look like winter wonderlands of lights, or maxed out bank accounts. I'm sure God loves to see his people celebrating together, but we want to keep in mind that God also wants us to step back from the craziness to allow some room in our hearts to savor the wonder, the majesty, and the sheer joy of what Christmas really means to us and to the whole world. So let's schedule ourselves some time to do that!
I hope to see you on Sunday as we celebrate the 3rd Sunday of Advent! And don't forget about the Drive-Thru Living Nativity Sunday evening from 5-8 pm! What a wonderful opportunity to experience the glory of the Christmas story!