Saturday, December 08, 2007

Simplicity during Advent

I felt like I was at a carnival. For $5 over here, the kids could ride a camel. For a few bucks there, a clown would paint a face. Hot chocolate was $2, and a carriage ride around the square hit $20. Seeing the lights was free - but not much else!

All I wanted was to help our church with its annual caroling and hot chocolate distribution on our local square. A dear friend started this 4 years ago and it has been beautiful - hearing the Christmas story over the loudspeaker and giving out cocoa to freezing watchers who were delighted with the songs and sounds of Christmas.

Each year, though, commercialism has encroached a little more upon our town's popular lighting exhibit on the square. The vendors that stayed off to the side are now center stage. The sounds of the music can hardly be heard. And this year, we couldn't even give out hot chocolate - too much competition for the coffee shop that was selling hot drinks. What used to be a beautiful display of lights and an opportunity to glorify God felt like a circus. The city's not funding the light exhibit next year - and after last night I find it hard to be sorry.

With every year that goes by I think I appreciate simplicity during the Advent season more and more. I treasure our daily Advent readings, the simplicity of our decorations, the creativity we are putting into gift-giving, the chance to bless others with God's love. Wherever you are in the world, however hard it is to be away from family - seek ways to focus on the love of God this Christmas season!

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