When I was a teen back in the 1980’s, everything was big and sparkly. Unlike the muted colors of the early to mid 1970’s, neon colors were plastered all over the landscape as seen in the fashion and furnishings. Popular jewelry consisted of chunky earrings, multiple bracelets, and layered necklaces. Women wore shoulder pads, and sneakers had “high tops.” We aimed to get our bangs as big as possible and almost killed the ozone layer because of it. Remember the quote attributed to millionaire Malcolm Forbes: “He who dies with the most toys wins”? People aimed to get bigger houses, fancier cars, and more toys.
The world today may have less neon than 1987, but sometimes our palate still craves the taste of better electronics and other fancier toys. Instead of “less is more,” “bigger and better” often becomes our goal.
One hundred years ago, in the years between World War I and the Great Depression, the world was simpler than it is now. No internet, television, comments hurled towards one another. Granted, the internet and television has brought the world together in healthy ways as well as unhealthy ways. But sometimes we forget about the simpler things in life and end up relying on the busy life to fill our souls.
The beauty of our devotional this Advent - “A ‘Less Is More’ Christmas Devotional” - refocuses us on the simple. Instead of rushing around frantically to have everything finished for Christmas, this devotional asks us to take time for meditation, prayer, reading scriptures, listing the people for whom we are grateful, and spending time with loved ones. This devotional helps us to reset after a busy Thanksgiving weekend and asks us to adopt a slower-paced Advent.
When we read the birth story in the book of Luke, Jesus came into the world in a stable with animals and shepherds surrounding him. This wasn’t a king begging for riches but one who would bring a more-humble realm into our world.
We all have so much to do during this time of December. But I hope you have the chance to breathe, reflect on the peace of God, invest in your loved ones through your time, fill this world with peaceful words, and create moments of joy for others. Instead of brightness coming from fancy possessions, “big” things, and neon colors, may we find simpler ways to bring the light of Christ into the world. Such experiences do not necessarily take lots of money or require us to “keep up with the Joneses.” Instead, we find ways to be authentic in our faith and inspire kindness by loving our neighbors as best we can.
May your season of Advent instill peace into your souls. May your season of Christmas bring joy into your hearts. And may our New Year fill us with hope through the dreams bestowed upon us by the Spirit of God!
Blessings, Pastor Michelle