With the decision on whether there will be winter sports in Hull this season not expected until after the Times deadline this week, that news will be reported next week. So, I have called on the Sermonator to use this space here and now to offer a holiday message.
How many times have you heard someone say, or perhaps you have said yourself, “that’s my good deed for the day”? When we do that good deed, we get a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of relief: I feel good that I did this great thing for somebody; now I don’t have to worry about it again until tomorrow, right?
The good deed for the day example, I think, is a microcosm of the holiday season in general. Our society for some reason accepts that we are allowed to jampack our acts of kindness and good will into a few short weeks around the holidays.
That’s not to say that we don’t do good deeds from time to time during the rest of the year, but during this time of year, we seem to put good deeds on our agenda as something we are supposed to do, an obligation, something else to cross off our list.
I see the holiday season as two different scenarios: one that is a buildup, and the other a countdown.
There is the Christmas that Christians traditionally celebrate, the season when there is an emphasis on the word Christ in Christmas. It is a preparation of hearts, minds, and souls, anticipating the arrival of the King of Kings.
Each week during Advent, time is set aside to pray for peace, for love, and for hope. It is a slow buildup toward Christmas Eve, when the Christ Candle is lit, symbolizing the reason for the season.
Then there is that other Christmas celebration, the one when we take the word Christ out of Christmas and replace it with an “X.” This Christmas celebration is not a buildup, nor is it a preparation for the arrival of a blessed event (which is where the word Advent comes from), but instead it is a countdown. It is a race against time, a season when we forget to live in the present because we worry too much more about the presents. In this season, Christmas Eve represents the finish line – a deadline to be sure that we have accomplished everything on our list.
So, as you ponder your holiday season thus far, what has your Advent season been like? Which of those two Christmas scenarios have you been experiencing? Are you at peace, soaking in the ambience of this beautiful time of year, anticipating the buildup of the arrival of our savior? Or are you in anxiety mode, thinking about your Christmas to-do list?
Perhaps it’s been a combination of each, which is what I believe is the case for all of us. We can build up and count down at the same time. It is human nature to get caught up in the sights and sounds of Christmas and to be swept up in the hustle and bustle of glitter and gifts.
So, it doesn’t matter which Christmas scenario we have been occupied with during this holiday season. We simply need to care for each other, especially this year. We should be a source of salvation, to rescue the lost and to hold hope in our hearts.
We need to see Christmas Day as the starting line to a renewed spirit of giving and caring throughout the year and to not limit our good deeds to just one per day.
To play or not to play?
That is the question we all hope to have the answer to next week as the Hull school administration considers the pros and cons of moving forward with a winter sports season. If it’s a yes, I’ll have winter season team and season previews ready to go.