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This doesn’t have to happen.

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Christmas, as you probably know, can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, we have a wonderful celebration of the birth of Christ, where we get the opportunity to pause and reflect on the miracle of the Incarnation – the fact that Jesus is Immanuel – “God with us”. On the other hand, we have the Christmas Vortex, the dreaded holiday drain that sends us rushing in every direction at once, consuming all of our time, energy and resources, inevitably drawing us into another Christmas tradition: the Christmas Meltdown. It usually either begins or ends with the tree.

So how do we manage to face Christmas, which is by nature a busy holiday, without slipping into the Christmas Vortex? I think we stumbled on the answer last Saturday.

Last Saturday was our WECC Christmas Café, an event that our Church hosts for our families, friends and neighbours, which includes a Christmassy (spell check let that one go!) atmosphere, big league desserts, imported Tim’s coffee, Christmas carolling, improv, special music (featuring some of our own, along with DMCI’s Chamber Choir – awesome!), and a gospel message. I was coordinating the event this year, helped by a sturdy crew of steadfast brothers and sisters who know how to serve.

It was work. People spent hours and hours designing tickets and delivering flyers, setting up tables, decorating, practicing music, gathering volunteers, making desserts, preparing the program…it was a formidable task for our Church to take on. In fact, one might wonder why we would do such a thing right in the middle of everyone’s own personal Christmas crisis. Why not leave well enough alone? Aren’t we just setting ourselves up for the Meltdown?

 That’s why Saturday night was so interesting. As I watched the event unfold, I didn’t see frayed nerves or exhausted Christmas zombies. In fact, I saw people going above and beyond the call of duty with energy, gusto and, I think, JOY. I would have been more surprised at this if I wasn’t feeling the same thing. After 6 straight hours of work on that Saturday alone, I was feeling great. No Vortex. No Meltdown. Just joy.

How did this happen? Did someone put something in the desserts? Was it the Tim’s coffee? Probably not. What I saw was people experiencing THE JOY OF SERVING. I realize that, according to the current thought in this world, putting “joy” and “serving” in the same sentence constitutes a paradox. But not according to Kingdom thought. Jesus said, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Even with this mandate of extreme service, the Bible records many times that Jesus was full of joy!

So we somehow managed to find the Lord in the serving, and shared in His joy. People found joy in delivering flyers, creating a nice atmosphere, greeting people at the door, preparing and serving desserts, filling coffee carafes, singing, playing music, mixing sound, setting up tables, taking down tables, vacuuming the carpet, scrubbing out stains, setting up chairs…

As for me, my greatest joy on that night was to deliver a message of the good news of Jesus Christ, and to see an amazing number of people indicate that they received the Lord Jesus right there.

So my Christmas wish for you this year is that you would stay out of the Vortex, miss the Meltdown, but catch the Joy of the Lord by serving others for His sake. It’s a great way to face Christmas.

May the Lord bless you,

Rob (www.weccwinnipeg.ca)