Monday, December 21, 2009

The wait is over…but the busyness isn’t.

It is truly amazing to think that one month ago we were preparing to gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving and begin our anticipation for Christmas. Now, Christmas, the day of Christ’s birth is upon us and not a moment too soon. I can’t tell you how glad I am for all this preparation to be done and just get down to the reason for the season…worshiping Christ with friends and family.

I don’t know about you, but the moment I get to the point of being done and able to sit down and relax I am already thinking about the next day or week or even, God forbid, when I have to go back to work.

My hope and prayer for myself and for you is that we can all take time to bask in the glow of the light sent to us so long ago on Christmas. Take time as a family to read the Christmas story (Luke 2: 1- 20), share Christmas memories, put on some music in the background and just sit. We are so blessed and the greatest blessing of all is the birth of Christ the Savior of all.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family,

Dain Swanson

Monday, December 7, 2009

Spreading Holiday Cheer

The other day I was walking around a department store doing a little holiday shopping when I was overtaken by a voice on the loud speaker who proceeded to tell me that the music I was listening to was all in an effort to “spread holiday cheer.” This comment was one that I have heard often, but my mind is strange and one that tends towards over analyzing and trying to find out the “why” and the “how come” behind statements like this.

What is it about this time of year that causes us to think more about giving and caring and spreading good cheer? Is it something about the weather, the lack of sunlight, the end of another year…or is it something more? Why is it this time of year when everyone seems to be in great need and want? Have we conditioned ourselves to think that since it is November and December we must look more closely at the ads in the paper, searching for the best deal on the latest and greatest? Maybe it’s the big corporations who are controlling our minds somehow and make us think that our lives are no longer complete because what we received last year at this time is now a whole year old and the latest and greatest would be much better and faster. I don’t doubt this is part of the reason, but I still think there is something about this time of year that somehow changes the focus from ourselves and redirects it to others.

Another question is why this time of year is so important for spreading cheer? Is there a lack of it this holiday season? And can’t we spread cheer of the non-holiday variety the other 10 months of the year? There are lots of other holidays out there, but I don’t necessarily hear people telling one another to “spread some good ‘ol 4th of July holiday cheer.” Why is that?

I propose that this is nothing we haven’t heard before. Love was born on Christmas and I truly believe that there is a higher concentration of it during the Christmas season. The love of Christ and the fact that it was a baby who came to save us on a night like any other night of the year shows us truly how far God’s love for us extends. God loves. God is love. Therefore, the reason everyone is going around and buying huge amounts of gifts and running up the credit card bill is because we feel the need to tell people they are loved and we care for them. I would hope that we, as humans, are not just robots who automatically go into "buy mode" when December hits. But rather focus on the reason we are called to love one another.

1 John 4:19 “We love because God first loved us.”

Continually keep the love of Christ in your heart, make this holiday season a time of spreading Holiday Cheer and also pray the love and hope of Christ continues into the New Year.

Merry Christmas