K.I.S.S.ing Lessons for Christmas

 

It wasn’t long after Andrew and I bought our first house that we found ourselves expecting a baby, and I can tell you first hand that there is nothing like expecting a baby to help you re-shift your priorities pronto.  I wasn’t pregnant for a week before I realized that our lovely new house was going to need an upstairs bathroom. So we hired a wonderful contractor by the name of Jim and brought him in to add a full bath to our upstairs. 

 

Now this being my first house and my first home improvement project, well, let’s just say I had lots and lots and lots of really creative ideas. Jim was always happy to listen but he always came back to this one principle he called K.I.S.S.. 

 

 “Keep It Simple Stupid. That’s what I always say,” said Jim. And because he did, I did, which, as far as I can tell, is the only reason the bathroom was finished before George was born. 

 

Well, as I look ahead to Christmas this year, I think we could all use a bit of a refresher lesson in how to K.I.S.S..  You know as well as I do that this wonderful holiday, for all its promises of peace and goodwill, has a way of spinning out of control. So here at the church we’re actually going to make a point of talking about ways to keep that from happening. 

 

Each Sunday, as we gather round to light the Advent wreathe, we’ll hear from members of the congregation who have found simple ways to incorporate the themes of hope, joy, peace and love into their lives at Christmas time.  We’ll be searching the scriptures, slowing down to pray, and singing wonderful Advent hymns like “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” the sort of hymns that oblige you to settle down and contemplate the true meaning of this season.  

 

We’ll be celebrating together with a lovely dinner here at the church on December 9th and yes, there will be a Yankee Swap, but we’re encouraging people to re-gift this year whenever possible.  There’s really no need to go out and shop when there are perfectly suitable things sitting around your own home that you would love to get rid of….I mean .. well… you know what I mean.  

 

And speaking of shopping and gift giving in general, before you run out to the mall to get a little something for everyone on your list, consider some alternatives. Pass on heirlooms to family members who would appreciate them while you’re still here to see them enjoy such precious artifacts.  Think of creative ways to give the gift of your time and presence rather than just more presents. And if you must give gifts, give gifts that give back: like soup mixes from the women’s bean project, cool gear from the FEED project, or a nice little gift from a shop like Ten Thousand Villages in downtown Northampton.

 

If you feel like you already have enough, but people still want to give you something, ask people to make a contribution in your name to an organization like the Survival Center or Heifer Project. I’ve asked my whole family to make donations toward building a home for the Pierre’s down in Haiti now that they have their land.  They need a house a whole lot more than I need, well, pretty much anything, and I know helping them toward that goal will bring me a lot more joy then any new item ever could.  

 

If you’re feeling stressed about baking this year, come make cookies with us on the 21st here at the church and then join in the cookie walk the next day. You’ll not only enjoy some fellowship, you’ll go home with a much greater variety of cookies then you ever would have managed to bake all by yourself. 

 

And speaking of that self, take care of it this season. Feed your soul. Take the time to do things that really do nourish your spirit and bring you the joy that Christ came to bring. Come to worship. Join us for the Gospel Concert on December 15th at 6:30 p.m. and delight in the music and enthusiasm of gifted musicians from all over this valley.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed and searching for a little peace and empathy, join us on December 21st, the longest night of the year, for our Blue Christmas service. Come sit and be still and light a candle of hope for yourself and those you love. 

 

And if all else fails and all the holiday craziness catches up with you in spite of, or perhaps because of, all you do, come to church on Christmas Eve. Come and hear the story one again, light your candle, and sing  “Silent Night” in a church full of people who love you and love God. 

 

May the baby coming shift your priorities this holiday toward those simple joys and that perfect peace that cannot be given or taken away. May the Christ Child born of Mary bring you the calm you are seeking, the hope you are needing, and the love you were born to receive, this Christmas and evermore.

 

Peace, love, and understanding,

 

Pastor Sarah