Over the last few days, #Christmas has been trending on Twitter. The trend started when people were excited that it was 100 days until Christmas, then continued at 99 days, 98 days, and so on. It is quite possible that Christmas will trend regularly right up until December 25th. Perhaps this is what Advent looks like in the digital age.
‘There are only so many weekends left to do the Christmas shopping.’ ‘There is only so much time to arrange the family get-together.’ ‘The decorations will have to go up before long.’ Come to think of it, Christmas might be trending out of trepidation rather than excitement.
Giving presents to one another is not a bad thing, of course – nor is getting together as a family or decorating your home or local area. The danger we face, here in the middle of September, is that they seem like onerous tasks to be completed rather than means to an end.
That is why I want to buck the trend this Christmas and determine to approach the festival positively, before pressures of November turn into the stress of December.
Primarily, for the Church, that means keeping the focus on the coming of Jesus. For Christians, our winter festival is an explicit celebration of the wisdom of God sending his son into the world as a little baby, to live and grow just like us so he could stand between us and his Father on the cross and so make a way for us to be with him. The fluff of Santa Claus is all good fun, but it is not a match on the nativity.
There are many good things about how we traditionally celebrate Christmas, though, which it would be a great shame to sideline:
- At Christmas we encourage generosity in giving gifts. This year, beyond items to unwrap on Christmas morning, I want to think about the digital ‘gifts’ I can give others.
- Christmas brings families and communities together, often for the only time in the year. This year, I want to think about the people I can reach out to who I have not seen in a long while.
- The church traditionally prepares for Christmas with the period of Advent, focused on the return of Christ. This year, I want to think about my preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus.
- Christmas carols are ever popular, and carollers share good news and festive cheer in their communities. This year I want to think about how I can be a ‘digital caroller’ amongst my digital communities.
Are you preparing to buck the trend this Christmas? Do you have any ideas for making the most of Christmas in online and offline communities? Do you think I should have waited another couple of months before posting this?! Do leave a comment and share your thoughts.
This article was originally written for the Big Bible Project.