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How to Have a Spiritual Christmas: Shut up and sing

Waking up to God (Did you know its Advent already?)

You know that sensation you get when you’re out and about right after Thanksgiving, and you realize the music you…

post by Ben Cachiaras

You know that sensation you get when you’re out and about right after Thanksgiving, and you realize the music you hear playing is Christmas music?

You sort of think, “Really? Is it time for that already?”

Or you may think, “I’m not ready for that quite yet. It’s still November and warm outside and I have turkey leftovers in my fridge. Let’s not push it.”

Or you may melt a bit toward it, and begin the process of welcoming the season that points our hearts toward the coming of Christ to change everything.

This is precisely what Advent is like for me each year. 

Did you know Advent has begun? Its music has already begun to play, and ready or not we are forced to deal with the fact that it is upon us, ready or not. It always seems abrupt, intrusive, interruptive.

But still it comes, pushing its way in upon us, ready or not. 

Which is exactly what Jesus and his coming among us is like. 

Jesus is intrusive. Unexpected. He bursts onto the scene ready or not, and each of us has to deal with him, one way or another.

The prophets said he was coming. The world ached in longing for his arrival. We desperately needed a savior to rescue us. But when he showed up “his own received him not.” He was largely unwelcome.

And that’s often how it is today. No matter how much we long for Jesus to show up and help, hearts are closed and resistant to him. Who is this intruder who wants to barge in here and change things for me and call me to something different?  

Advent is our wake up call. It shouts to us – Hey! It’s time to get ready for Jesus! Ready or not, here he comes – no, look – he’s already HERE! What are you going to do with Jesus?!

Advent intrudes into my late Fall routine and abruptly asks, “Are you ready for Jesus?” Its questions and disciplines nudge me toward the Lord in ways I would not pursue on my own. In a time of year when everyone and everything pushes me to consume and rush and spend myself completely, Advent says, “Slow down. Be quiet. Collect yourself and listen.”

Advent coaches me toward a perspective I need if I’m going to follow Jesus, but which I still don’t naturally choose. It re-frames my mind and world. It’s like a much needed reset, back to putting God first, and thinking about things that matter most.

Though I initially resist it like too-soon Christmas music, the truth is Advent rescues me. It ushers me into a better place, and reminds me that if Jesus is to be in my life, I will have to invite, welcome, and make room for him. 

In these weeks leading up to Christmas, that season Christians have embraced as “Advent,” let me encourage you to be on the lookout for Jesus. Look hard for Jesus. He’s coming.

Our world desperately needs him. But we are not eager to receive him.

Will you be any different?

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