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Posted: December 4, 2016 5:00 a.m.

Have you ever thought …

This just might be the year for a whole new Christmas experience?

We are just a few days into December and Christmas is closing in on us. For most of us there seems to be a thousand things be done, with all the shopping, decorating and all the activities added to our calendars are already crowded. Will this year be different? Will this be the year that we sense the peace, hope, joy and love that Christmas can bring to our lives?

The ancient Greeks had two words for time, one was “Chronos” and the other “Kairos.” Chronos was a quantitative look at time. The one we keep with clocks and calendars. The one that tells us we have 21 days till Christmas. Whereas Kairos was a qualitative look at time. Where any given moment might prove too crucial, the opportune moment for our lives to be changed and enriched.

For many Christians we are in the season of Advent. This means we don’t only look back at what happened in Bethlehem so many years ago, but we look forward to what we might experience this year and the years to come. There are still very special moments ahead of us, if only we take the time to be open to them. The world around us is always changing; each of us is changing, so the experience of Christmas can come in a new way. This might be the year for you and me to have a “Kairos” moment.

While we treasure traditions at this time of year, one thing we must do is to let go of those times that disappointed us or when we disappointed others. Perhaps we can learn from those experiences, but we must move on. We should be looking forward in hope.

But it is hard to find the way to see what really matters. Have you noticed how time seems to move at a different pace than it did when we were much younger. When we were children it seemed that Christmas Day would never arrive. And the longest night of the year was Christmas Eve when we tried to sleep, but sleep wouldn’t come. The clock seemed to have been frozen as we waited for the excitement of finding what Santa had brought and all the other gifts to unwrap. But now, the 25th seems headed toward us like a vehicle on I-20 going 80 mph. Sleep may still be difficult, but not because of “sugar plums” dancing in our heads, but rather from worrying if we can get done all the things we need to do.

One of nature’s most unique animals is the group of lizards that make up the Chameleon family. These are the creatures that change color to blend in with their surroundings. Maybe you’ve heard of the chameleon that got on Scotch plaid and blew up trying to match the color. By the time Christmas arrives many of us can identify with that little creature. My suggestion, let’s take the time this year to be open to those unique moments that will be treasures for years if we will stop and soak them into our very souls.

Be expectant. You more likely to catch the spirit of the season if you expect it to happen. It may not happen the way we thought it would, but be open to the world around you. There are still two special Friday nights on the Square to see Christmas through the eyes of a child, still candle light shopping on Thursday nights and a week from today on Dece. 11, a living nativity scene will be on the Square. Most of our churches will hold special services and concerts. You might find a way to volunteer to bring Christmas joy to those less fortunate.

To find the hidden gifts of Christmas focus on others. When they find Christmas you will too. Dare to be a child again. Listen to the stories of those who knew Christmas long before we were born. Some of the simplest of things can radiate with joy.

Christmas happens when we are intentional in how we reach out to others. Invite a neighbor over of desert and coffee, send a text or note to someone you have not talked to for a while or give a gift to some one that you do not expect a gift in return.

Don’t let a moment filled with the love of Christmas get overlooked. Don’t add to your collection of missed moments, but create a memory for all the Christmas’s that will follow.

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