Today on the blog, Aaron Kunce, our Pastor of Congregation Life, shares some of his favorite Christmas traditions.
What I really love about the Christmas season is how we turn again to the opening pages of the New Testament and allow the Gospels to speak into our lives. We take a fresh look at the Christmas story and reflect on what it has to say about who we are and how we should live in light of Jesus’ birth.
The decorations of the Christmas season I like best are the ones that draw me back to the story of Jesus’ birth. In our home, the nativity scenes, the Moravian star we have hanging, and the way we decorate our Christmas tree all gently remind us of the awesome story of the Nativity.
Some of our simple family traditions that have been the most meaningful include gathering at church to worship together and stepping out into the cold to ring bells for the Salvation Army. Also, every year we get together with extended family for feasting and fun. And usually we (very informally) reflect on our year, remembering and celebrating God’s goodness in our lives. And we begin voicing some personal goals with each other for the coming year. It’s a great time to lovingly affirm each other.
I find myself humming and whistling Christmas carols all during the season of Advent, and I think my favorite Christmas hymn has always been “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The feel of this Christmas carol resonates with me. I love joy at Christmastime and throughout the year, but I appreciate joy more when there’s some longing, yearning, and hoping mixed in.
This hymn has plenty of that—and it can very easily move me to tears. Christmas, to me, seems to be a season overflowing with joy, mixed with a little minor key lament and ache. A time of both a rejoicing in the savior Jesus Christ, and waiting for the day when the long story of redemptive history in our world is complete.
For me, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” calls to mind the final words of the New Testament in the last few verses of Revelation chapter 22, especially verses 17 and 20.
Friends, I wish you a joyful, hopeful season of experiencing the beauty of Jesus.
May God bless you and yours with his peace!
Pastor Aaron Kunce
Having the ability to empower and resource leaders to bear much fruit that lasts. Being a part of a team of friends and missional servants committed to changing the world.