Tis the Season to …pause

this beautiful ornament is made of Olive wood, carved by  artisans working for a peace organization in Palestine - a place that could use a sacred pause, don't you think?

this beautiful ornament is made of Olive wood and carved by artisans working for a peace organization in Palestine – a place that could use a sacred pause, don’t you think?

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve already been bombarded with Christmas stuff. Christmas, muzak, Christmas advertising on TV, newspapers, online, and the fliers… how many trees die to produce those? And the message? BUY. Preferably LOTS.

I LOVE Christmas. This is easily my favourite season of the year. I love the long, winter nights. I love hot apple/cranberry cider. I love decorating my house with all the lovely things I’ve gathered or that have been gifted to me over the years. I love Christmas cookies. I LOVE turkey. I love carols. I love the Advent season and the wonderful, thoughtful services that my church has during this time. I love the upside-down nature of the Jesus story – that the son of God came as a baby to a humble, poor couple, in a cave, celebrated by lowly shepherds. So cool of him to sneak in like that.

All of this is so far removed from this crazy, buying frenzy that Christmas has become. It’s ridiculous – and so many of us agree that it’s ridiculous, so why does it seem to get worse if we agree it’s so?

Don’t get me wrong, I also love giving gifts. I enjoy thinking about each person on my list and how I can creatively bless them with something unique that says “I chose this for you because you are special to me.”

But there is a difference between giving and simply buying. Some of the gifts I give are new. Some are thrifted. Some are homemade. Some are even donations made in honour of a person. It just really depends on the person. What I loathe is the feeling of obligation that is created by the advertising mania at this time of year.

So each year, I feel like I have to take Christmas back from those that would cheapen it by making it all about the purchase. Last Sunday in church, our pastor spoke about “Sacred Pauses” – taking time each day to pause, to reflect, to give thanks, to become aware of the presence of Emmanuel: God – with – us. She shared this great quote: “You only need a tiny scrap of time to move toward God.” – The Cloud of Unknowing, 14th century. Pairing that with the fact that God also moves towards me, seeks me out… makes that scrap of time/distance even shorter.

A tiny scrap of time. Isn’t that lovely? Holding a sleeping child. Praying before a meal. Going for a walk. Watching the birds at my feeder. Sharing laughter with friends. These are small things but being intentional about them makes a difference. That’s my goal for this Advent/Christmas season – to be intentional about taking pauses throughout my day to move towards, and be met by, the Sacred.

How do you deal with the whole consumer-focus at this time of year?

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6 Responses to Tis the Season to …pause

  1. Dagmar says:

    Dear Angelika,

    Thank you for your consistently thought provoking blogs. A tiny scrap of time is all we ever need to move toward anything, isn’t it?. We all know it, yet so often don’t take advantage because it doesn’t seem significant. The end result of tiny scraps of time ‘well spent’ are always worthwhile.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.
    Dagmar

    • Hi Dagmar!
      thanks so much for your kind words. And yes, it’s true that those tiny scraps of time really do add up… sometimes without us even realizing it. I find that sometimes i look back on a day or a week and find that i’ve had really significant moments that i didn’t even realize were significant until they were past.
      Thanks for taking a scrap of time to comment here!
      Happy Christmas!

  2. Erica says:

    Excellent advice to follow during what can be a sadly commercialized season.

    Happy Holidays!

    Erica

  3. Pingback: Sacred Pauses | Emmanuel Mennonite Church

  4. lally Young says:

    My advice, is put your blinkers on and only buy what you need. I buy from local craft fayres and support the local business. I hate major retailers. The UK is getting more and more like the US and it scares me!!! Keep traditions alive.

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