How are you feeling four days before Christmas? How has this Advent season been for you? Has taking a few minutes each day to focus on Advent made any difference in how the month before Christmas has played out? Even if things still feel more hectic than you hoped, or you are still dreading Christmas because it marks a difficult time for you or your family, can you identify any way that God has drawn closer or gifted you during these weeks of Advent?
Don’t beat yourself up if all of your intentions to re-orient how you “do” Advent and Christmas haven’t come to fruition. Maybe your relatives didn’t go for it when you floated the idea of dropping the annual gift exchange. Perhaps you’ve still spent more money than you planned, caved into the pressure of trying to get out the perfect family Christmas photo, or already gained a few pounds from the extra baking and parties. Maybe it’s been all of the above. That’s okay. The fact that you’ve had some intentionality during Advent to keep your focus on the church season in the midst of the secular holiday season speaks to your desire for a closer relationship with God. God can work with that. As Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).
For prayer: Depending on how you feel Advent has been for you, take some time to thank God for the gifts you’ve received so far this season and/or ask for what you need as you move into the last few days before Christmas.